Dramatically told by Heath Hardage Lee, The League of Wives reveals a story as exhilarating and inspiring as its predecessors ... Lee combines a concise narrative of the war with close-ups of several leaders of the women ... Most of the wives successfully managed the transition back into their domestic roles, and their story faded away. But Lee has brought it back to light [.]
The League of Wives is a galvanizing read, animated by the forceful leadership by Sybil Stockdale and other wives who made history. Author Heath Hardage Lee’s skillful organization of her vast amount of raw material (39 pages of notes and bibliography) renders this complex story clear and powerful. That said, the book, like all others, is imperfect. Lee’s writing is occasionally less than pristine, and she sometimes repeats herself. But more important to me was her imperfect understanding of the Vietnam War. She fails, for example, to identify the Viet Cong (VC) as minions of the North Vietnamese rather than an independent force, and she sometimes get Vietnamese place names wrong ... Most readers, of course, won’t even notice these small flaws. They will instead be mesmerized by the story of the strong and determined women of the league and what they achieved.
...intriguing ... Although the text is occasionally overly detailed, with a battalion’s worth of names and the inside-baseball intricacies of who formed which League of Wives chapter when, the slog of new women joining the 'reluctant sorority' of POW and Missing In Action wives is a testimony to the hopeless march of the Vietnam War. And despite Lee’s attempts to show the power of this group of increasingly emancipated women, what seems most clear reading The League of Wives is the complete futility not only of the war itself, but also of anyone trying to achieve goals in a wartime environment ... Lee’s work—although in need of more editing to avoid writing mishaps such as repeated phrases and unnecessary cliffhangers—gives a fresh lens, not only into a group long ignored, but also into the seeds of some of today’s deep political and social divide ... As imperfect as the writing might be, one cannot read The League of Wives and view POWs or MIAs in the same way ... The ripples of the Vietnam War, Lee shows us, are lasting, and they are personal and political.