- Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys
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Elizabeth Richardson was a Red Cross volunteer who worked as a Clubmobile hostess during World War II. Handing out free doughnuts, coffee, cigarettes, and gum to American soldiers in England and France, she and her colleagues provided a touch of home—American girls with whom the boys could talk, flirt, dance, and perhaps find companionship. Usually the job was not hazardous—except when V-1 and V-2 rockets rained down on London—but it required both physical endurance and the skills of a trained counselor. Liz Richardson is a witty writer and astute observer. Her letters and diaries reveal an intelligent, independent, and personable woman with a voice that rings true. With commentary by historian James H. Madison, this book is an exceptional window into a past that is all too quickly fading from memory.
Chronology of Elizabeth Richardson's Life
1. Growing Up, Leaving Home, and Preparing for War
2. The Yanks in England
3. V-1 Rockets, the Kansas City, and the 82nd Airborne
4. War Comes Closer
5. Into the English Provinces
6. From the Gray Midlands to Sunny Cornwall
7. Across the Channel and into France
8. V-E Day and V-E Blues
9. One Plane Crash
10. The Long Memory
Appendix: Wartime Writing
Note on Sources
James H. Madison is Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History at Indiana University Bloomington. He is author of A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America and other books. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
"At a time when war memories are fading with the passing of each veteran, Madison gives voice to Liz's recollections, capturing her zest for life and her deep understanding of war."~South Bend Tribune
"Richardson's story, skillfully reconstructed by Madison, pulls back the veil of romantic myth that sometimes obscures World War II, and lets us see the face of wartime humanity in all of its guises—bored and fearful, but also alive and charged with hope.October/November 2008"~Bloom Magazine
"All in all, this account makes for informative and enjoyable reading for the scholar, undergraduate, or anyone interested in women's participation in the war, and in particular the American Red Cross Clubmobiles. March, 2010"~H-NET Reviews Humanities & Social Sciences
"A remarkable book. . . . Historian James H. Madison has done a marvelous job of detective work in putting together Richardson's story. A major strength of this work is the careful way that Madison has placed the letters and diary of Richardson within their larger historical context."~Judy Barrett Litoff, author of We're in This War, Too: World War II Letters from American Women in Uniform