In 2014, northeastern Syria might have been the last place you would expect to find a revolution centered on women's rights. And yet that year, an all-female militia faced off against ISIS in a little town few had ever heard of.
Handling difficult topics with adroit respect and care, Lemmon offers a story that’s eminently relatable and speaks to the ongoing fight for women’s rights the world over. This is a story that needed to be told and needs to be heard. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in current events and women’s history.
... fascinating ... riveting ... Lemmon briskly sketches the biographies of individual fighters and commanders, and unravels the complex history of the region with skill. This deeply reported account enthralls and informs.
Lemmon adroitly sets the women’s battlefield exploits against the backdrop of shifting regional alliances and U.S. policies, evenhandedly showing Barack Obama’s slowness to respond to the IS threat as well as the risks of the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of Kobani and stand back when NATO ally Turkey attacked Kurdish-led northern Syria in 2019. The author focuses on the YPJ women in their fighting roles, which makes for a steady pace but at times limited characterizations. As a group, however, these soldiers display a wholly admirable bravery and commitment to women’s equality even when it cost them—as it sometimes did—their lives ... A well-told story of contemporary female warriors and the complex geopolitical realities behind their battles.