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UNBECOMING: A Memoir of Disobedience Hardcover – 10 Apr 2019

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

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“Anuradha Bhagwati chronicles with admirable candor the examination and reconstruction of her identity, a journey taking her to Yale, the Marine Corps, and eventually the halls of Congress. If you want to understand the seismic changes in US military culture over the past decade, read this book.” —Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue and Dark at the Crossing

“An insightful story about a daughter of immigrants who tries to find her place in this country, all the while enduring racism, homophobia, and sexism. Anuradha continues to fight for what is right so everyone can achieve the true American Dream: equal rights for all.” —Specialist Shoshana Johnson, US Army, ret., author of I’m Still Standing

“In her memoir Unbecoming, Anuradha Bhagwati powerfully depicts the forces that shaped and drove her as an unrelenting advocate for women in the military, fighting to expand opportunities and to reform the military’s treatment of sexual violence. It is a testament to the Herculean effort needed for progress to happen, and of the work that is yet to be done.” —Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment 

“Anuradha Bhagwati’s Unbecoming addresses the proverbial dilemma of confronting traditional expectations as a South Asian daughter. But Bhagwati—who grows up in the heart of the West and comes-of-age in New York City where popular culture holds sway—reckons with bouts of self-hatred, as she comes to terms with the complexities of identity. She renders a vivid examination of sexuality, education at Yale, the brutal rituals of training at Quantico as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, sexual harassment and disrespect coded into the military machine, yoga and meditation, reentry into civilian life while dreaming as a Marine, and psychological struggles in a VA hospital whose staff is ill-trained and unprofessional. Bhagwati delves into gut-level truth, and a reader is wholly engaged. The memoir’s narrator is fully initiated, and her one-of-a-kind voice plumbs multiple avenues for social justice. Unbecoming is an act of becoming.”— Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet of Neon Vernacular

"Unbecoming is so much more than your typical military memoir. As an advocate who led the charge on exposing military sexual assault and supporting women's access to ground combat assignments, Anuradha sheds light upon how change actually happens in Washington, especially when resistance is fierce and the stakes are high." —M.J. Hegar, American Air Force Veteran and bestselling author of Shoot Like A Girl

“A raw, fearless, openhearted chronicle of one woman’s journey through the center of white male violence and out the other side. In confronting herself as unsparingly as the military powers she took on, Bhagwati has written the rare page-turner that will not only make you want to be a better person but also teach you how.” —Jaclyn Friedman, feminist activist and author of Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All

"Anuradha Bhagwati has written a captivating and vital book, one that seamlessly marries compelling, insightful personal narrative with her astute critique of how the systems that shape our lives are failing us. It’s a must-read."— Soraya Chemaly, activist and author of Rage Becomes Her

"First-time author Bhagwati pulls no punches with this uncompromising memoir . . . [Her] candor and razor-sharp writing are in full evidence throughout her gritty and well-paced memoir." —Publishers Weekly

“[An] honest and unflinching memoir…[Anuradha’s] candid story pulls back the curtain on a hidden world in which highly capable women who thrive on the challenge of being a soldier are hindered by the men who surround them.”— Kirkus Reviews

"Bhagwati’s fight is both incensing and inspiring." —Booklist

"Her powerful memoir is about pushing yourself beyond your limits." —PUREWOW

"Remarkable and radical in all the best senses." —Barnes & Noble (BN.com)

"[Anuradha] Bhagwati’s book stands out most as a chronicle of overcoming psychological trauma...The book is at its most powerful when she writes about who she became in response to the violence the military trained her to commit." —The New York Times Book Review

"While reading a book to review, it’s usually useful to fold over a page's corner to make it easy to come back, to reflect on each noteworthy passage...But then you find yourself folding down the next page, and another, and another, until more than half the book is folded down, rendering the tactic useless as a reference but testimony to the story's potency." —Los Angeles Times

"Unbecoming brims with the ebullient Bhagwati's fierce humanism, seething humor and change-maker righteousness... Anuradha Bhagwati's fiery memoir is about serving her country—both during her Marine Corps days and through her activism afterward." —Shelf Awareness for Readers

"Every person interested in how the military should recruit, train and retain women must read Unbecoming. And every leader in the armed forces should pick up a copy to better understand how misogyny, sexual harassment and sexual assault hurt the all-volunteer force." —MILITARY TIMES

About the Author

Anuradha Bhagwati is a writer, activist, yoga and meditation teacher, and Marine Corps veteran. She founded the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), which brought national attention to sexual violence in the military and helped overturn the ban on women in combat. Anuradha is a regular media commentator on issues related to national security, women’s rights, civil rights, and mental health, and is the recipient of numerous awards. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Foreign Affairs, and The New Republic. She lives in New York City with her service dog, Duke.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (10 April 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1501162543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501162541
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Customer Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars19 customer ratings
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
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Reviewed in India on 28 August 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Time line
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 May 2019
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RKGreen
5.0 out of 5 stars One Riveting and Compelling Story, Written by a True WARRIOR
Reviewed in the United States on 7 May 2019
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Melanie Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Most honest portrayal of military culture I have read
Reviewed in the United States on 18 July 2019
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sudeshna berck
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and interesting
Reviewed in the United States on 20 July 2019
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Earl Lopez
4.0 out of 5 stars A very engaging work
Reviewed in the United States on 28 November 2019
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Barbara B. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Written!
Reviewed in the United States on 22 June 2019
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ReallyPickyAboutMostThings
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant. Touching, fierce, real.
Reviewed in the United States on 11 October 2019
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Jeff Garrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring.
Reviewed in the United States on 5 August 2019
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Reviewed in the United States on 18 May 2019
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Eileen N. Wagner
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, telling it like it is!
Reviewed in the United States on 9 February 2020
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Steve Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Women Serve in the Military - what do you know about their lives?
Reviewed in the United States on 5 January 2020
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MJ
5.0 out of 5 stars My husband, a veteran, really enjoyed this book.
Reviewed in the United States on 17 June 2019
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roslyn sternlieb
4.0 out of 5 stars Women in military
Reviewed in the United States on 15 August 2019
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Teresa Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars good story
Reviewed in the United States on 20 April 2019
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