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Native Pens Novel On Plight of A Female Veteran

There are 19.3 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces, according to the Census Bureau 2014 statistics, of whom approximately 10 percent are women. As more and more veterans are publishing novels about their experiences in the armed forces, how many have you seen, much less read, about female veterans?

Tamar Anolic, from Belle Harbor and Neponsit, with family still in the area, has written her first novel, “The Last Battle,”  which is one of the first novels featuring a female veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as the main protagonist. 

“The Last Battle” is an emotionally gripping story about Colonel Zahara “Zac” Madison, one of the Army's highest-ranking female officers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. After three deployments, once to Afghanistan, twice to Iraq, Zac's luck runs out. In her last deployment to Iraq, she is thrown by a grenade and gets shot in the leg from a machine gun. She is covered with burns and her leg is completely shattered. After being forced into a disability retirement, Zac has no choice but to return to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where her grandfather left her property.

Zac is now at a dead end in life: permanently injured, separated from the military, and too close to her small Arkansas hometown and her abusive, dysfunctional family. Zac’s battle scars have also produced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and uncontrollable anxiety, and she is faced with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ impenetrable bureaucracy at every turn. As her woes mount, Zac struggles to decide whether to plan her future — or whether to end her suffering once and for all.

According to Anolic, who now lives and practices as an attorney in Washington, D.C., “The Last Battle” started as a short story that she wrote back in 2003 when the Iraq and Afghanistan wars just started.

“At that time, the media was saturated with these wars. However, though there had been some news about the issues our veterans faced upon returning home such as PTSD, there wasn’t much about female veterans, and especially how these wars greatly affected female high-ranking officers.

“So I started reading a lot of memoirs about female veterans and about the wars themselves, and it sounded completely fascinating. That was my inspiration to turn the short story into a novel,” Anolic said.

When posed the question, “Why this topic now?” Anolic said, “More and more veterans are releasing memoirs and novels about their experiences. At the time when I started writing the novel, there were only eight or nine novels out there, and they all just featured male veterans. My novel is one of the first books featuring a female veteran, and I think more are coming. According to a few publishing agents, there is an increasing interest about the plight of female veterans, and the issues they face when they return home.”

At a recent open mic at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Anolic did a book reading. She said that one attendee approached her and asked if she was a veteran. “This woman said she wondered because the book sounded so authentic,” Anolic said.

Anolic said if there is interest, she would be elated to host a book reading in the Rockaway community, her home away from home.

“The Last Battle” can be purchased on amazon.com

 

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