Abi Morgan — the Emmy- and BAFTA-winning screenwriter behind “The Iron Lady,” “Shame,” “The Hour,” “The Invisible Woman” and the upcoming “Suffragette” (and that’s just in the last five years) — has been hired to adapt the military biography “Ashley’s War” for Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea’s Pacific Standard.
Written by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, “Ashley’s War” is an account of a pilot program in the US army that allowed female soldiers onto the battlefield and forge woman-to-woman connections with Afghan locals as part of a Cultural Support Team. First Lieutenant Ashley White, for whom the book is named, was one of the program’s participants.
Here’s the synopsis for Lemmon’s book, which was published in April:
From the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana” comes the poignant and gripping story of a groundbreaking team of female American warriors who served alongside Special Operations soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan….
In 2010, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command created Cultural Support Teams, a pilot program to put women on the battlefield alongside Green Berets and Army Rangers on sensitive missions in Afghanistan. The idea was that women could access places and people that had remained out of reach, and could build relationships—woman to woman—in ways that male soldiers in a conservative, traditional country could not. Though officially banned from combat, female soldiers could be “attached” to different teams, and for the first time, women throughout the Army heard the call to try out for this special ops program.
In “Ashley’s War,” Gayle Tzemach Lemmon uses exhaustive firsthand reporting and a finely tuned understanding of the complexities of war to tell the story of CST-2, a unit of women hand-picked from across the Army…. Transporting readers into this little-known world of fierce women bound together by valor, danger, and the desire to serve, “Ashley’s War” is a riveting combat narrative and a testament to the unbreakable bonds born of war.