Review: The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home



The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home
by Heath Hardage Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In The League of Wives Heath Hardage Lee tells the inspiring story of the wives of American POWs and MIAs during the Vietnam War. The women persevered through the intransigence of the North Vietnamese regime, and the "keep quiet" policy of the Johnson administration to become "partners" with the Nixon administration. The League they formed was instrumental in ensuring that Kissinger's peace plan to end America's involvement in Vietnam included demands on the return of POWs and the accounting for MIAs.

There are a number of wives who take part in this story, and at times it can get a little bit overwhelming keeping track of who is who. But other than that, I really liked this book and learned a lot that I'd forgotten or never knew about that time in American history.

This is a book, like Hidden Figures or Code Girls, that sheds light on a little remembered group of women who had a strong role to play in historical events. The author is a historian and museum conservationist who began what eventually became this book with the papers of Phyllis Galanti. 

Phyllis Galanti's husband was a POW, and she was active in the wives movement that led to forming the national League. Galanti, a native of Richmond VA like the author, passed away in 2014 and her papers were subsequently donated to the local historical society.  Starting out by reviewing Galanti's papers, Heath Hardage Lee spent the next five years researching and writing this book. She provides a wealth of detail that really makes the book come to life.

The League of Wives links

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