Porcelain on Steel by Donna McAleer

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, admitted, for the first time, in 1976, female cadets. Porcelain on Steel is their story, and the stories of the hundreds of women who have graduated from there since.  It is a story of obstacles overcome that is unique in American education.

In a straight forward manner, the author paints a stark picture of the prejudices encountered by the first women who attended, and how they coped. We are given a glimpse of their courage, and resoluteness. The reader gets to know West Point, what makes it unique, and how it changed, for the better, as a result of a gender integrated corps. We see women who became all that they could be, and much more than they originally aspired to be as a result of their army experiences, which began as plebes in that intimidating establishment that has no equal in the vast expanse of colleges across the land.

The book encapsulates stunning career success stories of many of these women graduates, both in and out of the military, and the reader's heart cannot help but be warmed by the unanimous, graceful, gratitude of these strong ladies for the chance that their West Point education and experience gave them. 

A professionally produced and published book, Porcelain on Steel is a captivating human interest read about a transition time in our military's history that changed the face of the army, forever. Mostly in their own words, the very real personalities of these remarkable ladies are revealed in the pages of this book, and they are quite compelling. It is believable, because it is true, and few women in the history of our country have stories as unique as theirs. Few women have contributed as much to the growth of our nation, none more. I wanted to stand up, and cheer when I finished reading.

Reviewed by: Bob Flournoy (2010)

Author's Synopsis

Porcelain on Steel is an insider's tour of one of America's most storied institutions and shares with the reader what it takes to succeed in the high-pressure, high-performance, high-testosterone lab that produces leaders for the Army and for our Nation.
In an era where the American public is saturated with women selling sexuality, this book highlights those who, blessed with strong character traits, use them to make a positive contribution to society. Leadership is a matter of character; leadership is matter of how to be, not how to do it. Leadership is something that is instilled in you--and great leaders in turn instill the ability in others. The women in Porcelain on Steel exemplify this--for all ages and wisdom for all time. Their qualities and strength of character would lead to success in any era but most importantly, their stories are especially relevant now, in today's times.
Porcelain on Steel is a book for your daughter, your sister, your best friend, and most of all, yourself.
The women in Porcelain on Steel are genuine role models. America's youth, whether male or female, as well as parents in search of stories of inspiration, courage, loyalty, public service and leadership that set a positive direction for our young people, should read this book.
Porcelain on Steel is a powerful and inspirational portrait of the women who serve--not just our country, but their families, their communities, and their own commitment to a purposeful and meaningful life. These women, like the author Donna McAleer herself, had the courage and strength to attend West Point--the toughest and most elite military school in the nation--and have the heart and soul to be role models for women everywhere. We can find courage in their courage, faith in their faith, and our own best selves in them. Porcelain on Steel is a book for your daughter, your sister, your best friend, and most of all, yourself.
West Point is an indispensible institution that has helped sustain our democracy for more than 200 years.