The Mourning After: Loss and Longing among Midcentury American Men
by John Ibson
University of Chicago Press, 2018
eISBN: 978-0-226-57671-8 | Paper: 978-0-226-57668-8 | Cloth: 978-0-226-57654-1
Library of Congress Classification HQ1090.3.I27 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 155.3320973

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
On the battlefields of World War II, with their fellow soldiers as the only shield between life and death, a generation of American men found themselves connecting with each other in new and profound ways. Back home after the war, however, these intimacies faced both scorn and vicious homophobia. The Mourning After makes sense of this cruel irony, telling the story of the unmeasured toll exacted upon generations of male friendships. John Ibson draws evidence from the contrasting views of male closeness depicted in WWII-era fiction by Gore Vidal and John Horne Burns, as well as from such wide-ranging sources as psychiatry texts, child development books, the memoirs of veterans’ children, and a slew of vernacular snapshots of happy male couples. In this sweeping reinterpretation of the postwar years, Ibson argues that a prolonged mourning for tenderness lost lay at the core of midcentury American masculinity, leaving far too many men with an unspoken ache that continued long after the fighting stopped, forever damaging their relationships with their wives, their children, and each other.

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