Sure, Veteran’s Day isn’t for months yet, but we feel obligated to exalt our troops now that we’ve had a chance to look at My Buddy. World War II Laid Bare, an amazing new coffee-table book revealing WWII soldiers cavorting buck naked with their troopmates.
Los Angeles photographer Michael Stokes scoured the globe to amass an archive of more than 500 vintage photos of soldiers and sailors from England, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Australia and the U.S., taking time to enjoy life—and each other’s camaraderie—in short respites from the horrors of war.
From the Amazon description:
Every harrowing day for a serviceman during World War II was potentially his last. To help bolster troops against the horrors of combat, commanders encouraged them to form tight “”buddy”” relationships for emotional support. Many war buddies, together every moment, and depending on each other to survive, formed intimate friendships.
When they weren’t fighting side by side, they relaxed together, discharging tension in boisterous play—sometimes naked play. The full extent of nude horseplay among men during World War II can’t be known, as cameras were rare and film hard to process, but some men did document this unprecedented male bonding in small, anonymous photos mostly kept hidden away until their deaths.
Barely legal men in peak physical form leaving home for the first time? It’s not for nothing that My Buddy’s introduction is written by Scotty Bowers, an 89-year-old ex-Marine and one of Hollywood’s most infamous hustlers.