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Book Review: "One of the Boys" by Paul Jackson (Canadian Military Historian)

June 22, 2010

[Canada] Paul Jackson’s One of the Boys is a complex, layered, and compassionate analysis of homosexuality in the Canadian military during World War II. Through careful and painstaking research, using archival evidence including court martial proceedings and interviews, he writes into World War II a social history of homosexuality in the Canadian Forces — a social history that had been, as he notes, ignored by military historians. At the heart of the book are six chapters which focus on what he refers to as “the regulators and the regulated.” In the three chapters on “the regulators” he considers how the military sought to regulate homosexuality through the definition of policy, how military law was used to function as a deterrent and how military psychiatry and medicine played a role in the regulatory process. He then turns his attention to the “regulated” and considers queer servicemen in Canada, queer servicemen overseas, and the effect of homosexuality on the esprit de corps, unit cohesion, and morale. He uses interviews and court martial records to bring to life this social history where he eschews simple answers.

Read more at Canadian Dimension

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