Stand­ing By: The Mak­ing of an Amer­i­can Mil­i­tary Fam­i­ly in a Time of War

  • Review
By – August 24, 2011
Rough esti­mates by the Depart­ment of Defense indi­cate that the per­cent­age of Jews in the Armed Forces is prob­a­bly even low­er than in the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion. Except for men­tion­ing such sta­tis­tics and mak­ing a few ref­er­ences to try­ing to cel­e­brate major hol­i­days in syn­a­gogue-less Ana­cortes, WA, Ali­son Buckholtz’s mem­oir of life as a Navy pilot’s wife dur­ing wartime is more gener­ic than Jew­ish. 

Stand­ing By is rep­e­ti­tious. Some­times Buck­holtz, a jour­nal­ist and essay­ist, writes too self-con­scious­ly. Yet, there is some­thing com­pelling about her book, some­thing wist­ful and mov­ing, espe­cial­ly when Buck­holtz focus­es on the friend­ships she has formed with oth­er mil­i­tary wives and even more so on her two young chil­dren. Any cou­ple — mil­i­tary or oth­er­wise — who spends long peri­ods of time apart from one anoth­er; any woman try­ing to raise chil­dren alone, and any mil­i­tary or oth­er kids who grew up under sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances will relate to the chal­lenges, sac­ri­fices, and emo­tion­al ups and downs Buck­holtz describes. Select­ed bib­li­og­ra­phy. 

Bar­bara Train­in Blank is a free­lance jour­nal­ist and arts previewer/​reviewer, as well as some­time play­wright based in Har­ris­burg, PA.

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