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Playboy Company: Bringing Home to the Front Lines in the Vietnam War

Journey to the front lines of the Vietnam War with Dr. Kara Dixon Vuic, as she examines the role of female entertainers throughout military history. 


What You’ll Learn

In this lecture, you’ll experience a narrative around the young women from across the United States, many of whom had never traveled far from home, who volunteered to serve in one of the nation’s most brutal work environments. From the “Lassies” in France and mini-skirted coeds in Vietnam to Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe, Dr. Vuic provides a fascinating glimpse into wartime gender roles and the tensions that continue to complicate American women’s involvement in the military arena. The recreation-program volunteers heightened the passions of troops but also domesticated everyday life on the bases. Their presence mobilized support for the war back home, while exporting American culture abroad. Carefully recruited and selected as symbols of conventional femininity, these adventurous young women saw in the theater of war a bridge between public service and private ambition.


About Dr. Vuic

Kara Dixon Vuic is the LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt Professor of War, Conflict, and Society in Twentieth-Century America at Texas Christian University.  She is the author of The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines(Harvard University Press, 2019).  Her first book, Officer, Nurse, Woman: The Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), won the Lavinia L. Dock Book Award from the American Association for the History of Nursing, was named a Book of the Year in History and Public Policy by the American Journal of Nursing, and was a finalist for the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award.  She also edited The Routledge Handbook on Gender, War, and the U.S. Military(2017) and is co-editor (with Richard Fogarty) of the University of Nebraska Press’s book series “Studies in War, Society, and the Military.”  Additionally, she has published articles and essays in At War: Militarism and U.S. Culture in the 20thCentury and Beyond, Integrating the U.S. Military: African Americans, Women, and Gays since World War II, Signs, Gender and Conflict since 1914, and Nursing History Review, among others. Vuic has won grants and fellowships from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Schlesinger Library, American Historical Association, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Military History Institute, and Center for Military History.