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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review of Tugboat Warrior by Ruth D. Handel

Ruth D. Handel, in her book of poems Tugboat Warrior, reframes her mother’s historic life in a series of personal, sometimes achingly personal, poetic fragments, each one set at a slightly different angle. The collection expresses a line of narration that Ernest Hemingway would call, “one true sentence.” Its multiple facets of heartfelt observation, positive and also negative, deliver this truthful sense of a heroic, flawed, and driven woman.

One of 12,000 female naval and marine enlistees during the First World War that freed up more men for shipboard duty, Handel’s mother, Florence Gluck, was both a feminist pioneer and an unabashed patriot. Although the Navy desperately needed stenographers, typists, translators and other office help to deal with the huge amount of war- generated paperwork, they had a problem. Every enlisted yeoman had to be assigned to a ship and women were not allowed on ships. In grand bureaucratic fashion the Navy solved their problem by assigning all 12,000 women to a sunken tugboat from the Civil War era. Thus the title of the book! For more of my review go here:  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2013/02/tugboat-warrior-by-ruth-d-handel.html

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