Acquisitions

Joanna Bourke. Dismembering the Male: Men's Bodies, Britain, and the Great War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. A now-classic gender analysis of the impact of the First World War on masculinity -- mostly in social and cultural terms, but the first chapter is entitled 'Mutilating' so sometimes the impact is quite literal. Other topics include the change in male identities occasioned by the much more intense official and public interest in the male body, and the postwar sanitisation of all the death and suffering in the form of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (which seems natural enough to us now, but supposedly the bones of the dead at Waterloo were turned into fertiliser only a century earlier).

Peter J. Dean, ed. Australia 1943: The Liberation of New Guinea. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Having read Australia 1942 (2012), I'm keen to find out what happened next. As the title indicates, the perspective is Australian, but there are also chapters on Japanese and American strategy alongside the analyses of the land campaigns in New Guinea. There are also chapters on the RAN and the RAAF in 1943, but this is where I have reservations. The one on the RAAF is by the same author who did the corresponding chapter in Australia 1942, a simple narrative of the aerial campaign, the battles and losses involved. There's nothing wrong with this in and of itself, but the rest of Australia 1942 is much more analytical and pays much more attention to the strategic, logistical, administrative (etc) contexts. The chapter on the RAN was up to this standard; the one on the RAAF was not. Australian airpower history often seems to miss out like this.

Robert and Barbara Donington. The Citizen Faces War. London: Victor Gollancz, 1936. While certainly very sympathetic to pacifism, conscientious objection and war resistance, in the face of the knock-out blow from the air the Doningtons end up plumping for an international air force by way of internationalised civil aviation (and maybe the air pact). Robert later became a respected academic musicologist and early music expert; not sure about Barbara.

Margot A. Henriksen. Dr Strangelove's America: Society and Culture in the Atomic Age. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1997. Argues that the American countercultures of the 1960s were primarily a response to nuclear weapons. Sounds like a bit of a stretch, but as the book covers everything from atomic bomb shelters as well as youth rebellion, it should be fun.

Spencer R. Weart. Nuclear Fears: A History of Images. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1988. This has some overlap with the preceding book, but lacks the contentious hypothesis, covers most of the 20th century (and at least glances outside the United States) and tries to be comprehensive with respect to the various concepts about and responses to nuclear weapons in the public sphere (including death rays and UFOs). In some ways this is reminiscent of what I attempted to do in my PhD/book for the (conventional) bomber -- it would have been useful to have had this, say, eight years ago, especially as Weart provides an appendix on his methodology.

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