In the Shadow of Men details Valerie O'Brien's experiences in the Irish army. As one of the first female combat soldiers in the Irish infantry, she was horrified to discover just how much of a man's world the army was. The training was excruciating, and she had to fight hard to be seen as an equal. But Valerie, whose father and grandfather both had served in the army, passed with flying colours. Along the way, she married another soldier, Andy, and they had two children. When Valerie went on tours of duty to Lebanon and Eritrea, she first began to feel she had made a big mistake. She was exposed to sexual harassment, pornography, hate mail and intimidation. The struggle to be a mother and keep up her army career took its toll on her health and she developed an eating disorder, while her marriage also broke up. Finally, it became too much, and she left the army in 2007. She is now a beautician. You can find out more at the author's website.

Back to Home