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Book Review: SEAN BRAWLEY and CHRIS DIXON. Hollywood's South Seas and the Pacific War: Searching for Dorothy Lamour.

Oxford University Press
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The cover art of this compact book brilliantly encapsulates its subject matter: on the front, two leering GIs carrying cameras wade through a jungle swamp, while on the back a scantily clad woman reclines against a palm tree. Similarly the subtitle, “Searching for Dorothy Lamour,” suggests the disjunction between Hollywood's image of the South Pacific and the experience of most service personnel posted there during World War II. Lamour became famous as the “Sarong Girl” in a series of movies set in the South Seas during the 1930s and 1940s. It appears that many Allied soldiers naïvely took Lamour's impersonation of a South Seas maiden literally and suffered considerable disillusionment as a result. As Sean Brawley and Chris Dixon explain, their study is placed at the intersection of cultural history and military experience. Influenced by Hollywood, military personnel posted…

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