At Ease: Navy Men of World War II 2007 Wall Calendar

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Press:Harry N Abrams Inc "Harry N. Abrams, Inc."; Wal edition (August 1, 2006)
Author Name:Bachner, Evan


In the years following World War II, images of comradeship, particularly of men being physically close, largely disappeared from the public record. 
But, as these stunning photographs attest, ordinary American men in the extraordinary circumstances of World War II were affectionate, winsome, and playful - disarmingly innocent in a time of cataclysmic peril.
Led by photography giant Captain Edward J.
Steichen, the U.S.
Naval Aviation Photographic Unit was organized during the war to record the daily experiences of Navy men all over the world and to provide newspapers and magazines with images to promote the American cause.
The unit's photographers, which included Wayne Miller, Horace Bristol, Victor Jorgensen, and Barrett Gallagher, took thousands of pictures of soldiers as they relaxed, trained, prepared for the next battle, and waited.
This book brings together more than 150 of those photographs culled from the National Archives, including many that have never before been published.
Whereas World War II imagery tends to be dominated by combat photography and monumental depictions of weaponry, these photographs offer a rare, intimate look at the Navy men themselves.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the brief, cogent introduction to this remarkable photo album, Bachner posits that these images of young sailors and marines shaped the ideal of manhood prevalent in American culture since World War II. 
The men depicted by the members of the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit (all professionals before the war) are preponderantly in their late teens and early twenties, and whether on or off duty, at ease in that they aren't in combat.
It's hot where they are in the Pacific or Mediterranean sun, and they're commonly shirtless, in shorts, or both; when bathing, infrequently when sunning, and in one striking image of a gunner returned to his post after a rescue, they're naked (no explanation survives for the gunner's nudity, but he is wet as from swimming).
Youthfully slender, toned from training, unselfconscious in their leisure or work, they seem, given the military context, effortlessly heroic.
Exhibited singly, if at all, the pictures were available to magazines, newspapers, and advertisers to use as is or as models throughout and a little after the war.
They look, as Bachner says, as if they'd been taken this morning, except for the physical contact, often obviously affectionate, that the men often and innocently make with one another.
It was a different time, eh? Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Longtime collector of photographs and amateur photographic historian, Evan B. 
Bachner has a BA in History from SUNY-Binghamton (specializing in post-war American history), as well as an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business, where he was a Harriman Scholar.
He currently works as a Vice President of Technology Development at Goldman Sachs & Co, and lives in New York City with his life partner.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Comment List (Total:4)

  •     If you have a dirty mind, I suppose you could read these pictures as soft porn. I read them differently. My dad served in both the Army and the Air Force during WWII and he had pictures not unlike these. It was a time when men, straight, gay, whatever, could express physical affection without being labeled, and without it being read as implicitly sexual. If the pictures selected for this calendar and the book have an agenda, it's to show some brief glimpses of a time when right wing sickos weren't dominating the media with their visions of evil in every human interaction outside the ones they approve of. This is a valuable document of a vanished time and the brave and beautiful men who lived in it.
  •     The extreme heterosexism of the first reviewer must've made him suffer from optical illusions. Neither men nor women will get erections looking at this calendar. It's a respectful tribute to our fighting men in WWII.
  •     I really enjoyed the photographs in the book and its sequel. I bought the calendar two years after its date, but the images are still enjoyable.
  •     I like this calendar. It shows what the Navy was back in World War II and being a Verteran myself but from the early 2000's, it's interesting to see all the changes and some of the things that still exist.Really cool. I hope a new one comes out for 2008.

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