War Girls: The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in the Great War
Author: Professor Janet Lee
Publiser: Manchester University Press, 
Janet Lee's book is not a simple history of the FANY in the Great War; it is a treatise on "wartime renegotiations of gender", exploring, in depth, how Ashley-Smith and the FANYs achieved service at the front while retaining their femininity, what it meant in the society of the time and how it effected post-war change.
Ms Lee acknowledges that she was "enthralled and intrigued by FANY adventures":
“They were fiercely independent and quite audacious, and while they threw themselves into their hard and gruelling work, they are also remembered for their propensity for fun and adventure. In addition, they were one of the most decorated volunteer organisations and amassed an outstanding number of honours and medals”.
But as a feminist, she was disappointed by them. It has to be remembered that the book is being marketed in the USA as well as the UK, and that even today's young women were not brought up on a diet of suffrage and equal rights for women so familiar to us from the 60s, and to our mothers and grandmothers between the wars. However, there are moments in the opening chapters when the glaringly obvious is expounded; the position of women in British society in 1914, something of the class structure and background of the ladies who joined the FANY and reminders of the lack of emancipation and the concept of the female role held both by men and women themselves.
Even having studied all these points, Ms Lee had hoped for a more modern reaction from the FANYs of 1914! What she goes on to give us though is the most well-researched and detailed account of everything the girls did in the Great War, in a compelling and fascinating tale. Nothing is lost by its having the interspersed treatise on gender issues. The study of feminist writing (using FANY reports and diaries) is particularly interesting and enlightening.
At the Armistice, “many FANY knew they would miss the fun and friendship shared …… and feared their loss of independence.”
How many times throughout the book does the spirit of the current Corps resound? This author has captured Esprit de Corps and understood the FANY persona (warts and all) to such an extent that the book is to be recommended to any member with an interest in our past. My commentary is limited to a few hundred words, which hardly does it justice, but I look forward with pleasure to re-reading “War Girls” again and again. It is worth reading!