Rich relations: the American occupation of Britain, 1942-1945

Front Cover
Random House, 1995 - History - 555 pages
Between 1942 and 1945 three million Americans passed through Great Britain. Most were young men in their early twenties, away from home for the first time. They left a country pulling out of its worst-ever depression. They came to the heart of a great but waning empire battered by war. The Brits said the Yanks were "oversexed, overpaid, overfed, and over here". GIs claimed that the Limeys were "undersexed, underpaid, underfed, and under Eisenhower". Using a wealth of documents from all over America and Britain, as well as numerous interviews with survivors, David Reynolds explores the ride variety of relationships among pushy, homesick GIs, uprooted, overworked British women, and bored Allied soldiers. He reconstructs the unique world of U.S. aircrews commuting between life and death. And he also examines how Churchill's government and the U.S. Army managed this largest-ever encounter between Americans and British. Of particular interest are their attempts to impose racial segregation on a society with no color bar, and the reaction of black GIs to the freer atmosphere found in wartime Britain. Reynolds upsets the conventional wisdom. The GIs look less oversexed when the real pattern of sexual behavior in prewar Britain is established. General Marshall's problems in mobilizing an "army of democracy" explain why that army was overpaid and overfed. Rich Relations also contains the first accurate estimate of the number of war brides, together with moving stories of their experiences and those of the illegitimate children of GIs searching for their unknown fathers. More broadly, Reynolds discusses the Americanization of Britain, and indeed of the United States itself. In his hands, the GIsembody America's adolescence as a superpower and he follows them as America matures after 1945, listening to their reflections on war and peace.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

RICH RELATIONS: The American Occupation of Britain, 1942-1945

User Review  - Kirkus

The American ``occupation'' of Britain during WW II—the phrase is George Orwell's—could have been a disaster but, in the event, was almost a triumph. As Reynolds (History/Cambridge Univ.; co-author ... Read full review

Rich relations: the American occupation of Britain, 1942-1945

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Whether praised as saviors of the Western Alliance or castigated as "overpaid, oversexed, and over here," the American forces that overwhelmed Britain in World War II have been a stable item of ... Read full review

Contents

Occupational Hazards
57
Citizen Soldiers
71
Marking Time
89
Copyright

21 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1995)

David Reynolds is an author and educator known for his historical and political works, many of which chronicle the relationship between the United States and Great Britain. Reynolds was born in 1952 in Orpington, England. He is married to an architect and has one child. Reynolds attended Cambridge University where he received his Ph.D. Reynolds's first work, The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance, 1937-1942: A Study in Competitive Co-operation, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 1982. It won the Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Reynolds also wrote Rich Relations: The American Occupation of Britain, 1942-1945, (1995) and more recently, has done research on the Cold War Era. Reynolds is an historical advisor for a BBC/PBS production about the historical relationship between the two countries. Reynolds has been a visiting fellow at both Cambridge University and at Harvard University. He and his family live in Cambridge, England, but summer in New Hampshire.

Bibliographic information