The last years of World War II - sometimes called "the last good war" - is the setting for Basic Training of the Heart. The story takes place at Ft. Des Moines, the actual home of the first Women's Army Corps camp. Over 150,000 American women served in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during the war. Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army.

Socialite Elizabeth Carlton impulsively joins the Women’s Army Corps to escape love’s disappointments and her father’s attempts to control her life. Still, she has never been one to accept discipline imposed by others—not even someone as intriguing as her new sergeant. 

Sergeant Gale Rains is accustomed to challenges, but she’s never had a recruit quite like this one. Rains surrendered much of her Sioux heritage to the Army to escape the hardships and pain of her youth. Now a drill instructor, her calm, steady manner and firm hand have molded women from all walks of life into WACs. But not one of them has ever touched her. Why should this spoiled party girl be any different?

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