Blaise, Kate 1976–

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Blaise, Kate 1976–

PERSONAL: Born 1976; married Mike Blaise (a military officer; deceased).

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Penguin Group Publicity, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.

CAREER: U.S. Army, former captain in 101st Airborne Division; currently serving in Missouri National Guard.

WRITINGS:

(With Dana White) The Heart of a Soldier: A True Love Story of War, Love, and Sacrifice (memoir), Penguin (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: After meeting and marrying in their hometown of Macon, Missouri, both Kate Blaise and her husband, Mike, joined the U.S. Army. She became an officer and he became a helicopter pilot. After the terrorist attacks on America in 2001, both soldiers were sent overseas, eventually assigned to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. Tragically, in 2004, only days before he was slated to finish his tour of duty, Mike Blaise was killed when his plane crashed in a wind storm. Returning home for the funeral, the grief-stricken Kate resigned her commission. However, her sense of duty and love for her country eventually compelled her to join the National Guard to continue her service. Her memoir, The Heart of a Soldier: A True Love Story of War, Love, and Sacrifice is not only an autobiography, but also a tribute to the love the author shared with her husband and her devout patriotism and love for her country. Blaise covers everything from her childhood years to her decision to join the military, including events in both her personal and professional life. Her husband's death was only one of several tragedies in her life, among them the car accident that resulted in her mother suffering brain damage and the medical problems that left Blaise unable to bear children.

The military experiences Blaise relates include the difficulties faced in being a woman officer among mostly male troops and, in one incident, the horror of being attacked by a U.S. soldier who lobbed grenades at his own unit after converting to Islam. A Publishers Weekly contributor called The Heart of a Soldier a "poignant tale" that "offers elucidating close-up details of army life." In Kirkus Reviews, a critic similarly concluded that the "author's straightforward prose gives readers an inside look at the difficult conditions in Iraq." Harry Levins, writing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, asserted that the book forms a "well-told tale of love, grief and, finally, acceptance."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Blaise, Kate, and Dana White, The Heart of a Soldier: A True Love Story of War, Love, and Sacrifice, Penguin (New York, NY), 2006.

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2005, review of The Heart of a Soldier: A True Love Story of War, Love, and Sacrifice, p. 1119.

Publishers Weekly, September 26, 2005, review of The Heart of a Soldier, p. 71.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 25, 2005, Harry Levins, review of The Heart of a Soldier.

ONLINE

Penguin Group Web site, http://us.penguingroup.com/ (January 19, 2006), brief biography of Blaise.