The Second World War forever enshrined those who lived through it as “the greatest generation.” Though veteran-writers like Norman Mailer and James Jones portrayed their comrades as hard-boiled, red-blooded pillars of machismo, My Buddy (Taschen) reveals soldiers and sailors at their most unguarded. Encouraged to form strong homosocial bonds to mitigate the stress of combat, troops would frolic with their “buddies” away from the frontline.
“Between battles they were able to bathe in makeshift showers and in rivers, lakes, and streams; to swim; catch a few rays and just mess around like the kids they recently were,” writes the book’s editor, Dian Hanson. These jaunts often took place in the buff. As former WWII Marine and memoirist Scotty Bowers puts it in My Buddy’s intro, “There 2013 aren’t many of those shy types in the Marines.” Here, an exclusive first peek.
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF TASCHEN. THE MICHAEL STOKES COLLECTION (SUN BATHERS). THE JIM HEIMANN COLLECTION (SHOWER). THE DIAN HANSON COLLECTION (CLIFF DIVE)