Helen Thorpe's Soldier Girls Named Non-Fiction Book of the Year by Time

Helen Thorpe talks about Soldier Books with Jon Stewart.
Helen Thorpe talks about Soldier Books with Jon Stewart.

While war in the Middle East seems unwinnable, a book that profiles three women who've served in the National Guard just won a major victory. Helen Thorpe, whose Just Like Us was given the Colorado Book Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2009, published a second book this year, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War -- and Time magazine has named Soldier Girls its top non-fiction pick for 2014. See also: Video of Helen Thorpe, Ex-Colorado First Lady, on Jon Stewart for Soldier Girls

Here's Time's take on the book:

The mobilization of the U.S. National Guard to Afghanistan and Iraq is one of the most remarkable chapters in the war on terror, and Thorpe's reporting draws on the experiences of three female soldiers to illustrate it.These women living ordinary lives found themselves somewhat suddenly deployed a world away, in a conflict seemingly without end. But their deployment also helped them find community: One former National Guardswoman who runs a salon in her civilian life helps style the hair of her comrades-in-arms.

Jon Stewart had already touted Thorpe's book, which got an excellent review from New York Times, not to mention a Book of the Week shout-out from People.

Before Thorpe was Colorado's first lady, and then Colorado's ex-first lady, she was an award-winning political journalist and author of the 2004 Westword cover story "Head of the Class," about an undocumented student at West High School.

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And now Thorpe herself has moved to the head of the class of non-fiction writers not just in Colorado, but across the country.

She'll be speaking about the book May 5 at Chautauqua; find out more here. Have a tip? Send it to editorial@westword.com.


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