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Taken by Force
 
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Taken by Force
Rape and American GIs in Europe during World War II
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
07 Jun 2007
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£30.50
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9780230506473
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Did American's 'greatest generation of soldiers' commit horrendous crimes against civilians in Europe during World War II? Is this an absurd idea, or something which did occur but was generally kept from the American public?

Taken by Force makes unprecedented use of military records and trial transcripts to throw light on one of the overlooked consequences of the US Army's presence in Western Europe between 1942 and 1945: the rape of an estimated 14,000 civilian women. The study makes an important and original contribution to our understanding of sexual violence in armed conflict. Using not only official military records, but also interviews with World War II soldiers, rape victims and their families, Lilly speaks as often as possible through the protagonists themselves and examines the differing social contexts prevailing in England, France and Germany. Attention is also given to the racial dimension of this issue: the disproportionate number of black GIs prosecuted and the relative harshness of their sentences when convicted.


Description

Did American's 'greatest generation of soldiers' commit horrendous crimes against civilians in Europe during World War II? Is this an absurd idea, or something which did occur but was generally kept from the American public?

Taken by Force makes unprecedented use of military records and trial transcripts to throw light on one of the overlooked consequences of the US Army's presence in Western Europe between 1942 and 1945: the rape of an estimated 14,000 civilian women. The study makes an important and original contribution to our understanding of sexual violence in armed conflict. Using not only official military records, but also interviews with World War II soldiers, rape victims and their families, Lilly speaks as often as possible through the protagonists themselves and examines the differing social contexts prevailing in England, France and Germany. Attention is also given to the racial dimension of this issue: the disproportionate number of black GIs prosecuted and the relative harshness of their sentences when convicted.


Reviews


'In an era of continuing militarism, J. Robert Lilly illuminates that even noble wars have disquieting collateral consequences. By masterfully mixing probing insight with hard data, he teaches us that historical amnesia is the pathway to a misguided, rather than an informed and healthy, patriotism. He also illuminates yet another domain in which racial injustice—the core American dilemma—has exerted its pernicious influence. Taken by Force thus is a book of many lessons—a volume that should grace the shelves of serious scholars of public affairs and that would be an enriching educational experience for our students.' - Francis T. Cullen, Distinguished Research Professor, University of Cincinnati

'A disturbing and brave book by a distinguished American criminologist. It lifts a painful lid on rape by American GIs in Europe during World War II. J. Robert Lilly asks troubling questions like why were most of the GIs executed for rape black? Why were there large numbers of executions of GIs for raping French and British women and girls, but none for raping Germans, when the German rapes tended to be more bestial? Those of us who hold the World War II generation in such affection, who had fathers who fought so bravely in it for just cause, may want to look the other way. But Taken by Force is a tour de force we must look at. Hundreds of thousands of German women and girls were raped in World War II, much more by Russian than American troops. They, and countless others from Japan to China to France, are forgotten victims of World War II, whose memory this book finally honors with serious research attention.' - John Braithwaite, Australian National University

'Lilly reveals a different side to the myth of the wholesome GI of World War II. This is a well-researched and courageous attempt to throw some light on an ugly underbelly that has remained unexamined for far too long. His harrowing descriptions of numerous rapes from official records make Taken By Force an uncomfortable read. Nevertheless, this is an important book, and one that deserves a far wider readership than just those with a scholarly interest.' - Lucy Popescu, Tribune
 
'Going against the trend of hagiography, this book reveals a harsher truth than many will wish to acknowledge, laid out in stark, cold, comfortless detail. Through painstaking analysis of military records, trial transcripts and interviews with soldiers, victims and their families, Lilly's work throws light on a previously overlooked consequence of the US Army's presence in Western Europe between 1942 and 1945: the rape of an estimated 14,000 civilian women.' - Jon Latimer, Times Literary Supplement



Contents

Preface; F.Virgili
Introduction
The Crime
Wartime Rape
England: White Women
France: Breaking and Entering
Germany: Operation Plunder
Punishment and Context: Wartime Justice
Epilogue


Authors

J. ROBERT LILLY is Regents Professor of Sociology/Criminology at Northern Kentucky University. An internationally renowned criminologist, in recent years Lilly has examined the disproportionate use of capital punishment against black soldiers by the US military during World War II. In addition to his work on alternatives to traditional forms of incarceration, he has been a major contributor to the development and implementation of electronic monitoring in the US and Europe. His present work on crimes committed by US soldiers during WW II extends beyond the European 'Theatre of Operations', and is now focused on all US Army theatres of war for World War II. Has been a Visiting Scholar at All Souls College, Oxford University and Visiting Professor of Sociology, University of Durham, England. Currently he is co-editor of The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice.