Cover: The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines, from Harvard University PressCover: The Girls Next Door in HARDCOVER

The Girls Next Door

Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines

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$29.95 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674986381

Publication Date: 02/04/2019


392 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

18 photos


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[A] fascinating history.—Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

A wonderful example of how scholars of war and society can interrogate the intersections of gender history, the history of sexuality, and military history… [Vuic’s] premise and treatment of the evolution of women military entertainers over time provides invaluable consideration and methodological approaches that can be employed by all scholars of the First World War.—Nathan K. Finney, First World War Studies

An outstanding example of the intersections of gender history, the history of sexuality, and military history as well the connections between the home front and the battlefront. Its lucid and engaging style, careful analysis, and thorough documentation will appeal to scholars and lay readers alike.—Susan M. Hartmann, Home Front Studies

Vuic also examines the changing perceptions about gender roles in America’s social and military institutions, making this a useful read for anyone with an interest in American society over the past century.NYMAS Review

[Vuic] expertly illustrates contradictions inherent in the military’s reliance, since WWI, on U.S. women to provide respectable recreational programs and at the same time alluring entertainment for soldiers.Choice

Besides illuminating women’s significance in military life, [Vuic] chronicles changes in assumptions about gender, sexuality, and race in American culture for the last 100 years… A fresh contribution to women’s history.Kirkus Reviews

This well-researched and well-written work delves into an aspect of women’s service in wartime that is not often portrayed.Library Journal

An important and timely book by a first-rate historian who is also a superb storyteller. Vuic richly captures the often contradictory demands made on women who volunteered for overseas troop support programs: to embody home-front domesticity but provide sensual entertainment; to be attractive but not too beautiful; to be friendly but not too close. Yet her book also underscores the women’s deep belief in the work as a genuine contribution to the war effort.—James Wright, President Emeritus, Dartmouth College, and author of Enduring Vietnam

Women were recruited to entertain, distract, and support male soldiers overseas during America’s twentieth-century wars, but their time in the spotlight was fleeting. Vuic returns them to center stage and reveals how utilizing feminine charms to advance military goals inadvertently gave these women opportunities to shape military culture and alter the trajectories of their own lives. A pleasure to read, bold and provocative, The Girls Next Door is a brilliant reinterpretation of the American experience of war.—Jennifer D. Keene, author of Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America

The fascinating story of the women who, accompanying soldiers to war, volunteered for a different sort of service to the nation. YMCA Girls, Salvation Army Lassies, Red Cross Donut Dollies, and USO performers were meant to serve as symbols of home, entertaining ‘our boys,’ boosting morale, and channeling men’s sexuality. Vuic’s insightful analysis of military entertainment is also a tale of the changing shape of the U.S. military over course of the twentieth century.—Beth Bailey, author of America’s Army

The Girls Next Door represents a major advancement in our understanding of gender and war. In fluid, vivid prose, Vuic shows the many complex ways in which home fronts and fighting fronts were interconnected through a complicated web of gendered interactions. A must read for anyone interested in war and society.—Michael Neiberg, author of The Path to War

Filled with real people and real emotion, The Girls Next Door traces the provision of entertainment for American troops from WWI to the 1990s, showing that despite dramatic changes in context, a durable sexualization of women followed them into war zones across the twentieth century. The research, knowledge, and storytelling on display here are all outstanding. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.—Andrew Huebner, author of Love and Death in the Great War

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