Off the shelf


by Pete Creighton


A woman in up-close combat in Iraq


Kayla Williams, Love My Rifle More than You, Norton, 2005, $24.95.


Newspapers and magazines tell us much about what's going on, but books nearly tell it all, in daring frankness. A current memoir found at the Galesburg Public Library is "Love My Rifle More than You," by a woman Staff Sergeant formerly in the Military Intelligence Company of the 101st Airborne Division. She is out of the Army this year and free to speak out "from a woman's point of view."

The Army is now 15 percent female, and women can serve close by combat operations and subject to car bombs, roadside bombs and ambush. Author Kayla Williams spent five years in the military, three in Iraq. She spoke Arabic, and her story includes a description of an interrogation of an alleged terrorist. I'll leave the details to readers, but she refused to participate in further sessions, which she found cruel and humiliating.

An excerpt from the book's cover reads "Author Williams demonstrates a keen eye for the complexityÉand ultimately deteriorating relations with the Iraqis."