Reynolds, David.


1st ed., 1995. Xxx + 555 pp., photo-plates, 6 maps, 8 tables & charts. D.j., 24 x 15cm. FINE. Between 1942 and 1945 three million Americans passed through the UK. Using a wealth of documents from all over Britain and America, as well as numerous interviews with survivors, Reynolds explores the rich variety of relationships between pushy, homesick GIs, uprooted, over-worked British women and bored Allied soldiers. He reconstructs the unique world of US aircrew, commuting between life and death. He looks at how southern England became a vast training camp and at the questions, prior to D-Day, about how the Yanks would perform as soldiers. He also examines how Churchill’s government and the US Army managed this largest-ever encounter between Americans and British. Of particular interest are their attempts to impose racial segregation on a society with no colour bar and the reaction of black GIs to the freer atmosphere they found in wartime Britain. Reynolds upsets the British belief that the Yanks were ‘over-sexed’ but explains why General Marshall’s problems in mobilizing an ‘army of democracy’ meant they were ‘over-paid and over-fed’. Reynolds provides the first accurate estimate of war brides, together with stories of their moving experiences and the search of illegitimate children for their unknown GI fathers.

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