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Mary Edwards Wertsch is the author of the 1991 non-fiction book, Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress. The outcome of five years of intensive research, the book closely examines the experience of military brats, describing the patterns of shared experience in childhood and tying these to their psychological legacies, positive and negative, in adult life. Wertsch draws on the body of published military family research, adds her own findings, and interweaves the life stories of her military brat interviewees, which are inspiring, heart-wrenching, and, to her military brat readers, eye-opening in their familiarity. The result, in effect, is a book which discovers and names a culture that had previously been below the societal radar.
A military brat herself, Wertsch was born in 1951 to a Southern mother and a West Pointer father (class of 1936) who served 30 years in the Army Infantry. In the course of her childhood she attended 12 schools and lived in 20 houses. She spent two years in Germany and three in France, during which she attended a French public school. In 1973 Wertsch graduated from The College of William and Mary with a degree in philosophy. She worked as an investigative reporter and feature writer before writing Military Brats. She is married and lives in St. Louis with her husband and their two sons, and in addition to writing now also teaches poetry-writing to inner city elementary school children. She is one of the founders of Operation Footlocker, which travels the country from gathering to gathering of military brats, seeking to unite them in the recognition of their common heritage.