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Author Topic: War Games, by Jenny Thompson  (Read 6920 times)

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writer78

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War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« on: August 15, 2007, 11:25:48 PM »
I recently read War Games, a study on WWII reenactors, by Jenny Thompson.  I'm curious if any of you have read it and what you thought.  My only reenacting experience is attending ren faires in costume.  I'm thinking of getting into war reenacting, but I haven't settled on what kind I want to do.  The atmosphere that she describes is intriguing, but her experience suggests that women have a hard time breaking into the hobby.  HOwever, her experience was limited to her local experiences, about 10 years back.

So my main question is, what did you think about her book?  What did she get right and wrong?  And my secondary question is, for a female reenactor starting out, do you think a particular era is easier to get started in than another?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Offline Sturmkatze

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2007, 12:23:04 AM »
He-he-he. I'm IN that book?in a LOT of places! I won't tell you my changed-name, but I know it's me -- lots of stuff I have said. I know Jenny -- she's cool?she was on a lot of my e-mail lists and still is on many. She understands WWII reenactors (if such a thing is possible :P). Anyway, to answer your question, yes, it's a lot of truth and she got a lot right.
Reenactors are like any other hobbyist, it's just that we play w/ guns and stuff that upsets normal folks interests us. People do it for different reasons. Anyway, about the book?ask away. I can tell you that I know a goodly amount of the people in the book and found it very, very interesting... kinda like goin' home  ;)
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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2007, 12:23:04 AM »
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Offline daniels

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2007, 11:43:21 PM »
oddly enough when I finished the book I thought that their were a lot of the same personalitys in the 30 yrs war group that I'm in. In all honnestly I think that their is alot of the same types in all eras of reenecating.
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Offline Antonescu

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2007, 10:47:32 AM »
Haven't read the book myself but do know of some professors at an Ivy League school in the Psychology Department that have. They just laughed it off as wasted time since only a very small number of people would actually be interested in the book and there are other issues that warrant research instead of why people reenact WWI/WWII.
"Those who forget the past are condemned to relive it" George Santayana (1863-1952)
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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2007, 12:13:49 AM »
Haven't read the book myself but do know of some professors at an Ivy League school in the Psychology Department that have. They just laughed it off as wasted time since only a very small number of people would actually be interested in the book and there are other issues that warrant research instead of why people reenact WWI/WWII.
Yeah, but you just said the term that made me go, "who cares?" "professors at an Ivy League school in the Psychology Department" Alas, to us inthe normal world, the "ivy league" is about as relavant as a fart in a typhoon.
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Offline Antonescu

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2007, 10:47:08 PM »
Haven't read the book myself but do know of some professors at an Ivy League school in the Psychology Department that have. They just laughed it off as wasted time since only a very small number of people would actually be interested in the book and there are other issues that warrant research instead of why people reenact WWI/WWII.
Yeah, but you just said the term that made me go, "who cares?" "professors at an Ivy League school in the Psychology Department" Alas, to us inthe normal world, the "ivy league" is about as relavant as a fart in a typhoon.
Marsh the surly

True Marsh but a lot of research done at those Ivy League schools (primarily Princeton, Harvard and Yale) eventually end up being benefits to alot of us. Teachers, business owners/entreprenurs, nurses, doctors, etc. Don't go after Princeton, my wife went there for grad school and I can say they are not arrogant asses there.
"Those who forget the past are condemned to relive it" George Santayana (1863-1952)
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Offline prgeyer

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2007, 08:51:28 PM »
I'm not your typical intellectual elite basher (I have multiple degrees from some of the nation's best universities), but I do detect some elitism here on the part of those folks at Princeton.  It seems to be a case of "if it's not of interest to us and our friends, it's not worth paying any attention to."  A big part of a "liberal arts" education should be thinking outside of one's comfort zone, and looking at the world through a different lens than what one is used to.

Then again, maybe it's because reenacting does interest me, but I found Jenny's book a very insightful and very accurate portrayal of many aspects of the hobby.  WW2 reenacting has changed in some ways since she finished her research, but in many other ways it's still the same.  If nothing else, War Games is interesting from a psychological point of view because of what it says about hobbies and the subcultures in general.

As for the second question, whether WW2 reenacting is right for you as a woman really depends on what you want to do.  If you want to participate in combat, there are a number of Soviet units that have female combattants.  If you prefer a non-combat role, you could do nurse or administrative personnel for the American or German forces (those are the ones I'm aware of).  Check out At the Front's website (http://www.atthefront.com) or Marsh's Reenactor.net website (http://www.reenactor.net) for links to units that do many different impressions.  Find a period of history that interests you first, then find a unit you feel like you fit in with.  Then just have fun.
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Offline Philonivs Maximvs

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2007, 10:31:04 PM »
Writer78, might I also suggest doing civilian... I have been talking to people in my area about doing it occasionally. Either displaced people or resistance. But CORRECTLY! I've seen waaaaay too many thrown-together crappy partisan/resistance impressions. It's an "anything goes" type of impression, as long as you keep it logical, and correct period dress (for the place you are supposed to be in as well). Might be just the right thing for the retro-phile who would like to do something else cool with retro clothes! Anyway, just a thought, and a plug for it  :)
"I drank WHAT???" ---Socrates

Offline Antonescu

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2007, 01:05:40 AM »
Peter,

True on if the subject is interesting then reading about it would make since. Psychology to me isn't interesting since my wife studied it and has a Ph.D. in it plus my mother (Ed.D) is a professor of Educational Psychology. For example, my interest on the East Front has changes to the Southern Ukraine and Balkans. Most people study Northern and Central Fronts and only the major battles in the south.

The research done falls into Social Psychology mostly and sad to say at most universites Racism, prejudice and sexism take top priority in their studies. I didn't say they were from Princeton, just saying that since my wife got her Ph.D. there that I knew the Cog Psych and most of the department. She has been to conferences, etc. and I have tagged along. Funny how you meet people!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2007, 01:07:31 AM by Antonescu »
"Those who forget the past are condemned to relive it" George Santayana (1863-1952)
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Offline prgeyer

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2007, 11:37:08 AM »
Fair enough.  My my mother has a PhD. in cultural psychology, so I guess this stuff and questions related to it have been pounded into me from an early age.  I found the book interesting because it addressed questions that I have been asking myself about my hobby, particularly as I have chosen to portray the German side of the equasion.  While the book wasn't specific to why some people reenact WW2 German, it did address why recent conflicts are interesting to some reenactors.
IR63 (WW1) http://www.ir63.org
IR104 (WW2) http://members.aol.com/soldaten/ir104.html
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writer78

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2007, 06:20:55 PM »
Thanks for the replies!  I'm attending a rev war and a WWII in the coming weeks, so I'll get more opportunities to learn about my options.  It's good to hear that there are options for someone like me trying to find a way to start out.

Offline Antonescu

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2007, 10:17:23 PM »
Fair enough.  My my mother has a PhD. in cultural psychology, so I guess this stuff and questions related to it have been pounded into me from an early age.  I found the book interesting because it addressed questions that I have been asking myself about my hobby, particularly as I have chosen to portray the German side of the equasion.  While the book wasn't specific to why some people reenact WW2 German, it did address why recent conflicts are interesting to some reenactors.

True, my degree is in History and have liked military history from an early age. Not sure how that ties into why I reenact 20th Century conflicts. From my perspective they are more recent in memory and more information is still there to be found instead of Rev War which most items are long gone.
"Those who forget the past are condemned to relive it" George Santayana (1863-1952)
4th SS Polizei Division http://www.wwiilha.com/4thssmain.html
318th, 80th ID AEF http://www.hardscrabblefarm.com/80th/

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Re: War Games, by Jenny Thompson
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2007, 10:17:23 PM »
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