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)
Chock full of interesting facts, vignettes, and conclusions about the impact of wartime sexual behavior on the postwar world, this survey looks at both men and women on the homefront and abroad, within the military community, and with allies and conquered enemies. The author has done extensive research, soliciting letters from the British and American participants, and quoting them liberally and effectively. Unfortunately, the material is not synthesized thoroughly, nor are the first-person accounts sufficiently interpreted. The conclusions require more substantiation. Still, this book should have a large audience. Recommended for public and research libraries. Cynthia Harrison, American Historical Assn., Washington, D.C.