Wartime

Paul Fussell, Author, Fussell, Author Oxford University Press, USA $50 (350p) ISBN 978-0-19-503797-5
Most of the men who fought World War II were young--with those over 27 or 28 likely to be called ``Dad.'' For most of the troops, the war's purpose seemed remote and vague, according to Fussell. He contends that many Americans had little comprehension of Nazism; to ``our boys'' the war was about revenge against the Japanese. In this sequel to The Great War and Modern Memory , Fussell presents American and British soldiers as alcoholically insulated against reality, suffering boredom, absurdity, sexual deprivation and, above all, full of subversive contempt stoked by the official mix of optimism and euphemism that falsified the war experience. Separate chapters cover wartime rumors and blunders, service slang, the despair in the trenches, and the sanitized, sanguine messages emanating from radios, films, songs and high-minded literature back home. This brilliant, engaging cultural history quietly subverts our whitewashed collective memory of the war. Illustrations. First serial to the Atlantic. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-19-506577-0
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