That was then, this is now

About 55 percent of British servicemen [in World War II] were married.

Furthermore, by mid-1943, British military units were dealing with almost one hundred cases of “family anxiety” a day, with about two-thirds of those being infidelity issues, summing yearly to about 7.5 percent of the married British servicemen in North Africa and the Middle East at that time.

That is from Daniel Todman’s Britain’s War 1942-1947, a book I already have reviewed positively.  Reading further, it remains excellent and interesting on every page, is still grossly under-reviewed by MSM, and would make the top five or even top three non-fiction books of the year list since I have started blogging.

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My impression is that a lot of the infidelity in 1943-44 was with American soldiers newly arrived in Britain for D-Day.

Those wild British chicks. Always were, always will be. Seriously, any evidence or just a folk memory?

I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I'm working online! My work didn't exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn't be happier.

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Love watching Sun !

Journaling is my passion and I write in two separate journals. Do you have multiple journals?

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You know why they call it D-Day right?

Those boys were "overdressed, overpaid, oversexed, and over [t]here."

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Americans created half a continent's worth of Euro cu-ckolds. The Soviets did the other half. The most cu-cked continent on earth.

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This style of writing is hopefully like the style of writing of Ian Buruma, the Dutch writer who wrote several books about WWII era civilian life, as well as Japan, and is now an editor at the New Yorker. Outstanding stylized non-fiction.

I see Buruma has left NYC over furor for publishing a woman abuser, an unfortunate victim of the #MeToo movement.

Ghomeshi's essay was complete garbage and should have never been published. It consisted of him whining about how hard it was to have his sexual and physical abuse of women made public after 24 accusations had piled up. It wasn't an apology or even a real discussion. Maybe it should have been a Medium post.

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I had never heard of the affair, nor of Ghomeshi, and haven't seen a copy of the NYRB in years, though my father-in-law always took it and I once in a while picked it up, finding the often-nasty sparring of the notable personages in the letters section, and sometimes whole essays devoted to recounting decade-long sparrings, kinda entertaining. The sort of thing that now happens on twitter in much faster fashion.

I can easily see the editor thinking an essay like that was in the spirit of many such "edgy" essays before it, and perhaps little imagining that one guy's first-person depiction of his - most interesting! - rejection of gentlemanly norms in sexual matters fell well within the publication's championship of the radical since its inception. As indeed it did. Those people, despite publishing feminists since forever and a day, never seem to have understood them (them - not their largely irrelevant writings) very well.

I imagine the NYRB is rudderless, if it still exists. My relative subscribed for the most part but not entirely - there were interesting reviews, and a good deal of cultural content in its slim pages - because he wanted to know what the smartest among the enemy were thinking. It's hard to imagine that audience - whether sympathetic or largely hostile like himself - paying for pablum and platitudes in tiny print. But maybe they are all shortly to be dead of Covid anyway.

In particular, the book reviews were sometimes so lengthy, they got you halfway to feeling like you'd read the book - hard to get that anywhere now.

@peri that seems worth of a NYRB blurb! Never having read it much myself, though I did like the agate font for style.

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The Nazis exploited this though propaganda, like leaflets dropped on British troops warning that "the Yanks are lease-lending your women." An example is here: https://westernkentuckyuniversity.pastperfectonline.com/archive/ED870DF8-D8FF-456D-918E-211156485353

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According to the VA, 55.2% of USA active duty service members are married. https://www.va.gov/vetsinworkplace/docs/em_todaysServiceMembers.html

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How old were these married servicemen?

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Also, let us not forget the passing of Vera Lynn whose singing buoyed the spirits of English soldiers.

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Don't know about the UK then or now: but in the US the institution of divorce has pretty well displaced the institution of marriage over the past half century or more (perhaps roughly coinciding with the wholesale and retail introduction of birth control pharmacology).

Why don't we simply go ahead and abolish marriage, since the bonds it forges mean nothing today, courtesy of our divorce industry? It's only an antiquated formality, after all. ("Birth control", pharmacological or other, doesn't amount to much these days, either: the global population was roughly three billion in 1960 when birth control pills were being rolled out, sixty years later we're approaching eight billion, even with one global pandemic raging.)

yes! turn back the clock to when everyone was happily married

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The Guardian has a good review of this book. Look forward to receiving it. Been reading about WW2 the last 2-3 years. My favourite so far is "With the Old Breed" by EB Sledge. An unvarnished and brutal memoir.

Some other WW2 related items. Here is a "A Diary for Timothy", a British documentary from 1945. It was written and narrated by EM Forster.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UuaJPGee20

And one of the more fascinating episodes of Desert Island Discs was with Diana Mosley. She was a Mitford sister who married the leader of the British Union of Fascists. Her friend Hitler attended the wedding.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009mdck

With the Old Breed is an excellent depiction of extended close infantry combat. Casualty rates were significant. Among other things, it’s hard to imagine female troops in that environment.

Sledge went on to become, as I recall, a university professor. The book was written a number of years after the war.

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Strongly recommend Kynaston's "Austerity Britain" for what happened afterwards..

Yes. Next two good but not as good as the first. Is he continuing the series? Supposed to go to Thatcher.

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There is also an excellent treatment of this and other related issues in Jonathan Fennell's "Fighting the People's War". The comments about Americans arriving miss the point: much of the infidelity occurred before any large arrival of American troops; and the American troops themselves suffered from these issues when they were posted overseas; it was certainly the case for Australian and South African troops. One imagines that Soviet troops suffered from the same issues. It seems to point to some limits in how much a certain proportion of marriages can take in terms of separation.

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