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Tall tale: New book slams American WWII soldiers as rapists, thieves

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A controversial new book about American soldiers fighting in France in WWII charges that many civilians viewed them as rapists and thieves, rather than liberators, The Daily Mail reports.

History professor Mary Louise Roberts claims in her book, titled "What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France," that when the first soldiers swarmed ashore in Normandy, it was "a veritable tsunami of male lust" that French civilians came to fear as much as the Nazis, The Mail reports.

The book is set to release next month and is likely to stir significant outrage in the United States, where veterans are highly revered as heroes.

"My book seeks to debunk an old myth about the GI, a manly creature that always behaves well," Ms. Roberts told The Mail, claiming that rape, lawlessness and institutionalized racism were methods used by American soldiers to "assert their power on the French."

"The GI's were having sex anywhere and everywhere," she added. "In the cities of Le Havre and Cherbourg, bad behavior was common. Women, including those who were married, were openly solicited for sex. Parks, bombed-out buildings, cemeteries and railway tracks were carnal venues."

Ms. Roberts said that the sex "was not always consensual, with hundreds of cases of rape being reported."

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