What happened when millions of British servicemen were “demobbed”—demobilized—after World War II? Most had been absent for years, and the joy of arrival was often clouded with ambivalence, regrets, and fears. Returning soldiers faced both practical and psychological problems, from reasserting their place in the family home to rejoining a much-altered labor force. Civilians worried that their homecoming heroes had been barbarized by their experiences and would bring crime and violence back from the battlefield. Drawing on personal letters and diaries, newspapers, reports, novels, and films, Alan Allport illuminates the darker side of the homecoming experience for ex-servicemen, their families, and society at large—a gripping story that’s in danger of being lost to national memory.
Allport is a postdoctoral lecturer at Princeton. His book is a must for all military history buffs, and those celebrating the good old days of mid-century America.
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