March 12, 2012

Book Review: Intro to Army Life

Recently I was offered the opportunity to review a brand-new book especially for Army spouses:
Intro to Army Life, by Allison Mewes.

Intro to Army Life is not a personal memoir of Mewes own “intro to Army life” so much as it is a handbook, or a quick-reference guide. A quick scan through the Table of Contents shows brief 2-3 page “chapters” on subjects like the Soldier’s Creed, how to read a Uniform, Tricare, and USO services. Almost anything a new spouse (or soldier) would want to know about the Army can be found in this book.

All of the information Intro to Army Life contains can be found online, of course, and many of the chapters are simply a brief definition of a term and a referral to an online resource with more detail, such as the entry on R&R. But it’s nice to have a complete index at hand.

When SoldierMan joined the Army, I got probably 90% of my info from Google searching or following many of your blogs and asking questions. I would have loved having such a resource at the time, and it’s much more user-friendly than the Military Spouse Handbook the government has released (in my opinion, but then I don’t generally find government documents were written with user-friendliness in mind.)

Intro to Army Life is definitely geared toward people newly entering the Army lifestyle, but I can certainly see how I will find this book handy in the future. At the very least, I can see using it with the newer spouses in my FRG. Which may be the only quibble I have with the book. The portion about FRGs does include the expectation of top-down rankism, and to her credit, Mewes encourages readers not to pay much attention to such things. But rankism is a two-way street, as I’ve recently, personally discovered. Whether it’s top-down or bottom-up, it’s inappropriate, and if it is going to be addressed it at all, it should be addressed honestly, from both sides.

If you’d like more information, Mewes has both a website and a facebook page. Intro to Army Life is available on Amazon.

I was provided a free copy for review. The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.


  1. I didn't know the government had a book for milspouses. That's terrifying! I had avoided my government issued "families dealing with deployment" manual.

    I haven't had much experience with the FRG, but I can only imagine the rankism problems both ways.

  2. I've been in "Army Life" for years now and I could still use a quick-reference on a regular basis. Perhaps I'll pick up a copy of this one.

    What do you mean the Government can't write a clear, concise and helpful document? That's absurd! :)

  3. I have this sitting on my Kindle to be read, can't wait to get started on it and see what I might learn. I may have spent my entire life around the military, but there are always new-to-me things that pop up. I'm also curious to see how this might come into play for my FRG resources!


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