Yorick Smaal's Sex, Soldiers and the South Pacific 1939–1945: Queer Identities in Australia in the Second World War is a fascinating and important book. The work is the first to explicitly examine queer culture in Australia during the Second World War. The overarching focus is the changes to queer culture engendered by war, predominantly focusing on Brisbane and Queensland. The influx of Australian and international military personnel and ensuing changing demographics, as Smaal argues, makes Queensland an important and apposite case study with likely parallels in other parts of Australia and other war zones. The author explores how exigencies of war shaped romantic and sexual encounters. The war, according to Smaal, created new opportunities for sexual liaisons. Smaal's work shows how an influx of foreign, mainly American, and Australian soldiers altered the patterns of queer life – shifting not only behaviours and patterns of interaction but even the language used by men themselves to describe their own sexual lives. In addition, Smaal elegantly shows how the surge in population, combined with military communal living, made privacy a luxury thus driving men into public spaces to conduct their affairs often with consequence of prosecution. However, Smaal also shows how military
Gender & History – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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