Thanks for the Memories: Love, Sex, and World War II

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Thanks for the Memories destroys the historical myth that young men and women went about the business of war and stayed on the straight and narrow path. Rather, World War II provided new opportunities for sexual experimentation, for hasty marriages, for flourishing prostitution—and for love connections that have stood the test of time. Young men in the military, far away from family and home, "did things" they might never have done. Young women, many of whom went to work for the first time, experienced a freedom and independence most women had never known. Because of the war, courtships were cut short, couples married more quickly than normal, and husbands and wives were often separated for several years. Despite attempts to get back to "normal" after the war and the apparent "togetherness" of the 1950s, World War II had set change in motion, heralding the second wave of the women's liberation movement.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Through engaging stories and recollections, Leder paints a vivid picture of the love lives of the members of the Greatest Generation, from the service wives who followed their husbands around the country during their stateside training to the 'khaki-wackies' and 'Victory girls' who gave servicemen a roll in the hay in exchange for a Coca-Cola or a movie, to women, African Americans, and gays and lesbians who defied society to enlist in the military. Always enlightening and never prurient, Thanks for the Memories illuminates an untold chapter in World War II history- a chapter that resonates today in the continual redefining of gender roles and race relations."

"Thanks for the Memories is one of those rare books that one can either read quickly or savor slowly. A times it is fun and witty; at other times it is poignant and thought-provoking."

“Lively, moving, evocative and memorable, Thanks for the Memories brings back to us the extraordinary changes that occurred among women and men during World War II, and recreates for us their pain, joy and courage.”

“Jane Mersky recounts the stories of ordinary people in extraordinary times, and brings the World War II era to life. Beautifully written and poignant, sometimes romantic but not always, Thanks for the Memories recounts how men and women during World War II sought love, sex, and security in the midst of the upheavals of wartime.”

Thanks for the Memories vividly portrays the disruptive impact of World War II on relations between men and women, not only in the well documented arena of labor force participation, but also in the realms of sex, love, and marriage. The wartime generation, known for its conservative embrace of traditional domesticity in the 1950s, did so after having broken all the rules. Jane Mersky Leder makes a persuasive case that the women’s movement in the late 1960s was an aftershock of these seismic shifts whose story, until now, has not been told.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275988791
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/30/2006
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Mersky Leder is a freelance writer and journalist. She is the author of the award-winning book Dead Serious: A Book for Teenagers About Teen Suicide, as well as Brothers & Sisters: How They Shape Our Lives and Grace & Glory: A Century of Women in the Olympics. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Psychology Today, the Chicago Sun-Times, and American Heritage. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Prologue: To My Parents-Morris and Shirley Mersky xix

Chapter 1 Derailed Dreams 1

Chapter 2 "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" 15

Chapter 3 "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, for Tomorrow We May Die" 31

Chapter 4 Discrimination in the Ranks 51

Chapter 5 An Army of Service Wives 75

Chapter 6 Waiting Wives and Home Front Popular Culture 93

Chapter 7 "Over Sexed, Over Fed, Over Paid, Over There" 115

Chapter 8 "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" 133

Chapter 9 Babies, Suburbia, and the Seeds of Change 155

Selected Bibliography 169

Index 175

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2006

    Great History

    This book is full of captivating bits of history, wonderful personal stories, and a peek into a generation that is disappearing day by day. It is never dull and Jane Mersky Leder moves you quickly through the history with a confident and engaging writing style. Pick this book up and take a look at what you don¿t already know about World War II and the Greatest Generation.

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