Women have been excluded from combat roles for most of American history. During conflicts such as the American Civil War, a few women enlisted as men; in some cases, their identities as women were not discovered until after their deaths. Today, the nontraditional battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have no clearly defined front lines, and many female soldiers have found themselves face-to-face with the enemy. Yet despite the realities of modern warfare, the subject of women serving in combat roles remains highly controversial.Women in Combat: A Reference Handbook examines the historical background, current dilemmas, and global context of this contentious issue. The author explores both sides of the argument, presenting information from leading sources and gleaned from personal interviews. Statistical data, primary source documents, a directory of organizations, and print and electronic resources offer additional insight.