The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force 1939-1945

Paperback | June 19, 2011

byMartin Francis

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Between 1939 and 1945, the British public was spellbound by the martial endeavours and dashing style of the young men of the RAF, especially those with silvery fabric wings sewn above the breast pocket of their glamorous slate-blue uniform. Martin Francis provides the first scholarly study ofthe place of "the flyer" in British culture during the Second World War. Examining the lives of RAF personnel, and their popular representation in literary and cinematic texts, he illuminates broader issues of gender, social class, national and racial identities, emotional life, and the creation of a national myth in twentieth-century Britain. In particular, Francisargues that the flyer's relationship to fear, aggression, loss of his comrades, bodily dismemberment, and psychological breakdown reveals broader ambiguities surrounding the dominant understandings of masculinity in the middle decades of the century. Despite his star appeal, cultural representations of the flyer encompassed both the gentle, chivalrous warrior and the uncompromising agent of destruction. Paying particular attention to the romantic universe of wartime aircrew, Francis reveals the extraordinary contrasts of their daily lives:dicing with death in the sky one moment, before sitting down to lunch with wives and children in the next. Male and female experiences during the war were not polarized and antithetical, but were complementary and interrelated, a conclusion which has implications for the history of gender in modernBritain that reach well beyond either the specialized military culture of the wartime RAF or the chronological parameters of the Second World War.

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Between 1939 and 1945, the British public was spellbound by the martial endeavours and dashing style of the young men of the RAF, especially those with silvery fabric wings sewn above the breast pocket of their glamorous slate-blue uniform. Martin Francis provides the first scholarly study ofthe place of "the flyer" in British culture ...

Martin Francis was educated at the universities of Manchester and Oxford. He has published widely on a variety of aspects of twentieth-century British history. After holding several positions in the United Kingdom, notably at Royal Holloway, University of London, since 2003 he has been the inaugural Henry R. Winkler Associate Professo...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:278 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:June 19, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199602298

ISBN - 13:9780199602292

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The allure of the flyer2. A man's world3. The flyer in love4. Husbands and fathers5. The flyer and fear6. A darker blue7. The new Achilles? literature, technology and violence8. Coming homeConclusion

Editorial Reviews

"A lively, accessible, and very worthy contribution to this most fascinating subject." --Garry Campion, War in History