Added: June 22, 2013 – Last updated: November 7, 2015

TITLE INFORMATION


Author: Mary Louise Roberts

Title: What Soldiers Do

Subtitle: Sex and the American GI in World War II France

Place: Chicago, IL

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Year: 2013

Pages: 368pp.

ISBN-13: 9780226923093 (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780226923116 (paper) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780226923123 (ebook) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: U.S. History; European History: French History | Types: Wartime Rape / Second World War



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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Author: Mary Lou Roberts, Department of History, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Contents:

  Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  Part One: Romance
  1 Soldier, Liberator, Tourist (p. 15)
  2 The Myth of the Manly GI (p. 57)
  3 Masters in Their House (p. 85)
  Part Two: Prostitution
  4 Amerilots and Harlots (p. 113)
  5 The Silver Foxhole (p. 133)
  6 Dangerous Indiscretions (p. 159)
  Part Three: Rape
  7 The Innocent Suffer (p. 195)
  8 Black Terror on the Bocage (p. 239)
  Conclusion: Two Victory Days (p. 255)
  Notes (p. 263)
  Index (p. 341)

Description:

»How do you convince men to charge across heavily mined beaches into deadly machine-gun fire? Do you appeal to their bonds with their fellow soldiers, their patriotism, their desire to end tyranny and mass murder? Certainly—but if you’re the US Army in 1944, you also try another tack: you dangle the lure of beautiful French women, waiting just on the other side of the wire, ready to reward their liberators in oh so many ways.
That’s not the picture of the Greatest Generation that we’ve been given, but it’s the one Mary Louise Roberts paints to devastating effect in What Soldiers Do. Drawing on an incredible range of sources, including news reports, propaganda and training materials, official planning documents, wartime diaries, and memoirs, Roberts tells the fascinating and troubling story of how the US military command systematically spread—and then exploited—the myth of French women as sexually experienced and available. The resulting chaos—ranging from flagrant public sex with prostitutes to outright rape and rampant venereal disease—horrified the war-weary and demoralized French population. The sexual predation, and the blithe response of the American military leadership, also caused serious friction between the two nations just as they were attempting to settle questions of long-term control over the liberated territories and the restoration of French sovereignty.
While never denying the achievement of D-Day, or the bravery of the soldiers who took part, What Soldiers Do reminds us that history is always more useful—and more interesting—when it is most honest, and when it goes beyond the burnished beauty of nostalgia to grapple with the real lives and real mistakes of the people who lived it.« (Source: University of Chicago Press)

Interview: Panchasi, Roxanne, et al. »What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France.« New Books in French Studies (2013).

Reviews:

Boczar, Amanda. Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 112(3) (Summer 2014): 534-536. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Bourque, Stephen A. Journal of Military History 78(1) (January 2014): 414-415. – Full Text: EBSCOhost Connection (Restricted Access)

Buckland, Danny. »D-Day GIs 'raped and killed their French allies while US army generals turned a blind eye'.« Express (August 18, 2013). – Full Text: Express (Free Access)

Chasmar, Jessica. »Tall tale: New book slams American WWII soldiers as rapists, thieves.« The Washington Times (May 29, 2013). – Full Text: Washington Times (Free Access)

Darrow, Margaret H. The American Historical Review 119(3) (June 2014): 996-997. – Full Text: Oxford Journals (Restricted Access)

Deacon, Valerie. French Politics, Culture & Society 33(1) (Spring 2015): 135-143. – Full Text: ingentaconnect (Restricted Access)

Ellwood, David. »Sex and the American GI in World War II.« History Today 64(6) (June 2014). – Full Text: History Today (Free Access)

Fogg, Shannon L. »Sex and the Greatest Generation.« Reviews in American History 43(1) (March 2015): 156-160. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Freedman, Lawrence D. »Three New Books on World War II.« Foreign Affairs 92(5) (September-October 2013). – Full Text: Foreign Affairs (Free Access)

Frühstück, Sabine. »World War II—Transnationally Speaking.« Journal of Women's History 26(3) (Fall 2014): 142-146. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Gordon, Linda. Dissent 60(4) (Fall 2013): 107-111. – Full Text: Dissent (Restricted Access), Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Heineman, Elizabeth. »Towards a History of Transnational Sex in World War II.« Journal of Women's History 26(3) (Fall 2014): 138-141. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Johnson, Akemi. »The Body Politic.« The Nation (April 28, 2014). – Full Text: The Nation (Free Access)

Kovner, Sarah. »GIs in the Global History of Gender and Sexuality.« Journal of Women's History 26(3) (Fall 2014): 147-151. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Kuby, Emma. History: Reviews of New Books 42(3) (2014): 99-100. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Lampe, Urška. Acta Histriae 22(4) (2014): 1056-1058. – Full Text: (Free Access)

Mathers, Jennifer G. »The Not-So-Great Generation.« Women's Review of Books (November-December 2013).

Meyerowitz, Joanne. »Louts in Uniform.« Journal of Women's History 26(3) (Fall 2014): 134-137. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Moir, Nathaniel L. »D-Day Through French Eyes: Normandy 1944.« New York Journal of Books (August 27, 2014). – Full Text: Academia.edu (Free Access) New York Journal of Books (Free Access)

Moorhead, Caroline. »La Grande Peur.« Literary Review No. 410 (June 2013). – Full Text: Literary Review (Restricted Access)

Nolan Mary. History Workshop Journal (October 13, 2015). – Full Text: Oxford Journals (Restricted Access)

Reid, Fiona. Times Higher Education (May 23, 2013). – Full Text: Times Higher Education (Free Access)

Schmitt, Uwe. »Gigantisches Bordell mit 40 Millionen Hedonisten.« Die Welt (June 16, 2013). – Full Text: Die Welt (Free Access)

Schuessler, Jennifer. »The Dark Side of Liberation.« The New York Times (May 21, 2013): C1. – Full Text: The New York Times (Free Access)

Sweetman, Rosita. »How a battle for freedom was sold as an erotic adventure.« Sunday Independent (July 21, 2014). – Full Text: Independent.ie (Free Access)

Voldmann, Danièle. Clio: Femmes, Genre, Histoire No. 39 (2014): 282-284. – Full Text: Revues.org (Free Access)

Wadle, Ryan. H-War (May 2014). – Full Text: H-Net Reviews (Free Access)

Walters, Guy. »The GIs who raped France.« Daily Mail (May 31, 2013). – Full Text: Mail Online (Free Access)

Whitney, Susan B. Journal of the History of Sexuality 24(3) (September 2015): 545-547. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access), University of Texas Press (Restricted Access)

Zaretsky. Robert. »Reconsidering the "Good War".« Los Angeles Review of Books (April 6, 2014). – Full Text: Los Angeles Review of Books (Free Access)

Translation: Roberts, Mary L. Des GI's et des femmes: Amours, viols et prostitution à la Libération. Paris 2014.

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States; History of Europe: History of France | Types of rape: Wartime sexual violence | War: World War II / Rape during the liberation of France, United States war crimes