Some dull, anonymous WW II recollections (attributed to ""Constance Stirrup Lackey,"" ""Rosaire Early,"" and other recurring...


THE HOME FRONT: An Oral History of the War Years in America: 1941-1945

Some dull, anonymous WW II recollections (attributed to ""Constance Stirrup Lackey,"" ""Rosaire Early,"" and other recurring cartoony characters)--plus some banal bridging text. The point of the book is supposed to be that life on the home front ""was not really as pleasant as we choose to remember it""--what with ""freedoms suspended,"" ""fear of invasion,"" ""the loneliness of young widowed mothers,"" and other unselective ills. What's mostly unpleasant here, though, is the constant gabble about ""loose women"" and sex-starved women and helpless, newly-""independent"" women; about goof-off workers and bullying air-raid wardens; about ""arrogant"" DPs and ""psycho"" wounded vets; about ""governmental waste, bureaucratic cupidity and stupidity, small-time bribery, and basic dishonesty""; etc. The truth is, in the latter instance, that rationing was generally regarded as fair (as the author, in time, acknowledges), wage and price controls were generally successful, the draft was generally democratic: what America suffered from during the war--besides dread of that letter of regret--was not the usual sins of government. Little of this material, however, reflects any discrimination--or anything more than certain wartime phenomena, shamelessly inflated: ""Some women managed to think of life as a series of small adventures and stored them away to tell their husbands when they returned""--whereupon we hear about a sailor and two nude girls seen in a hotel room across the street from a visiting friend's hotel room. For the record, there are chapters on women, men, and children; on spy scares and civil defense; on small-time entertainers (because they had more chances); and, superficially, on ""The Victims""--meaning chiefly Japanese-Americans and blacks. (There are also some crude stereotypes of Jews and blacks.) A dismal affair altogether.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 1981


Page Count: -

Publisher: Playboy--dist. by Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1981