Author: Miyoko Hikiji

Publisher: Chronology Books

ISBN  978-1-933909585

Everyone’s war is different, but the women who take up arms have truly unique tales in the annals of military history.  In the United States of America there is a constant rumbling discussion about the role women should play in the military, that is, whether or not they should participate in combat operations and hold combat roles.  Miyoko Hikiji’s All I Could Be shows the reader that in combat, especially in today’s modern warfare where the enemy is rarely easily identifiable, there is no difference between combatant and non-combatants: everyone is a target, whether it’s the infantryman walking patrol through a sleepy Iraqi village, or a female specialist driving a large truck in part of a convoy.

Hikiji’s work not only explores the dangers of conducting convoys through insurgent territory, but she also examines the difficulties of being a woman in a predominantly male environment, as well as maintaining a relationship with a fellow soldier.  The challenges that she experienced as a female soldier include the expected, such as sexits attitudes and off color humor; to the truly difficult, such as answering the call of nature, as well as showering, in an environment where privacy simply doesn’t exist.  In this vacuum of personal privacy, which is the very nature of the military for low ranking enlisted personnel, Hikiji manages to be in a healthy and mutually respectful relationship with a male soldier in her unit, in spite of the obstacles presented by jealous comrades.

Hikiji brings us her own war story, and no one elses.  She doesn’t side track into the suspected motives of other members of her unit, or into the possible reasons behind the insurgency.  She keeps the story clearly focused on her own personal difficulties as a female soldier, as a soldier in a combat situation, and as one half of a relationship surviving in a difficult environment.  

Throughout all of the difficulties with which she is faced, Hikiji maintains a sense of focus and independence.  Her language in the book is simple and direct, creating a beautiful picture of Iraq while potently exploring her own situation.  Hikiji also goes beyond her gender to show that combat reaches out and touches those in what are traditionally considered non-combat roles as well.  All I Could Be is uniquely Hikiji’s own, and deserves to be read as an important part of the history of the Iraq conflict as well as an important chapter in the history of women in warfare.  

Follow Here To Purchase All I Could Be: The Story of a Woman Warrior in Iraq

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