The new book My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare is exposing the harmless homoerotic side of male-bonding among American servicemen during the Second World War. The catalog of historical photographs and advertisements includes nude and semi-nude soldiers shown in intimate situations such as showers and skinny-dipping.
Despite the grim realities of war, the photos also reveal the playful, innocent freedom many soldiers experienced together. “Well, they were boys,” explained the book’s author, Dian Hanson. “We’re talking about men between the ages of 18 and 23. They are away from women and they feel free to act up.”
Hanson also clarifies that while the photos can portray a degree of sexual attraction among the men, they also tap into a greater notion of the unique emotional connectivity shared among soldiers in the trenches.
“You are never closer to someone than one who has your life in his hands,” she says. “The guy next to you is saving you. Previously, your mother was the one who protects you. Now here’s someone who has the power. He can cover you and protect you.”
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My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare is now available for pre-order through Amazon.
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