BOOKS: MY BUDDY.
My Buddy reveals an extraordinary hidden side to World War II with young Allied troops discharging tensions by frolicking in boisterous, naked play and forming intimate, tender “buddy” friendships.
Commanders encouraged their troops to form close relationships for emotional support and to help them cope with the horrors of combat. That these images exist at all is astonishing as cameras were rare and film hard to process, but some men did manage to document this unprecedented male bonding. These small, anonymous photos were mostly kept hidden away until after their deaths.
Photographer Michael Stokes has spent years searching out these rare vintage photos and building an archive of over 500 images. His collection includes soldiers and sailors from Australia, England, France, Italy, Poland, Russia and the USA. The images are complemented by fascinating texts. The introduction is by Scotty Bowers, an 89-year-old ex-Marine and author of Full Service, the best-selling memoir of his sexual exploits in Hollywood. He reveals how the war forever altered his attitudes about gay and straight.
Esteemed writer and serviceman Gore Vidal and Alan Berube (Coming Out Under Fire: The History Of Gay Men And Women In World War II) also contribute illuminating texts. Originally published back in 2014 but now out of print, Taschen have reissued this remarkable book in a new, cheaper hardcover format.