Virtue Under Fire: How World War II Changed Our Social and Sexual Attitudes

John Costello, Author Little Brown and Company $17.95 (309p) ISBN 978-0-316-73968-9
Abetted by the entertainment industry, sex and romance flourished perhaps as never beforethough not always togetherduring WW II as men and women, separated from their loved ones, found new companions with whom to assuage loneliness and find distraction or commitment before facing possible death. A major portion of this excellent social history is devoted to the mobilization and critical contributions of women at the homefront and in the military effort, both in Britain and the U.S. Sexual restraint seemed suspended for the duration and hasty marriages were common, asserts the author, evoking Freud to the effect that the urge to kill and the urge to procreate are subconsciously related. The family, notes Costello, was war's greatest casualty, with increases in divorce, illegitimate births and VD rates. His conclusionthat the wartime emancipation of women planted the seeds of a social revolution that is still in progresswill not be news to many readers. Photos not seen by PW. (April 18)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
Paperback - 309 pages - 978-0-88064-070-1
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