‘George the Queer Danced the Hula’: Narrating Race and Sexuality in a WWII Soldier’s Memoir

Carol Stabile (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

In April 1941, the United States army drafted Michael Stabile of Nutley, New Jersey, one of thirteen children born to immigrant parents from southern Italy. Stabile kept a diary from the first day he reported for duty until he was discharged on June 30, 1945. Stationed in Pearl Harbor, Saipan, the Philippines, and Okinawa, Stabile’s diary chronicled his military activities, his complaints about the institution’s unfair treatment of the working-class and mainly Italian men, and his sexual encounters with prostitutes, local women of color, and other men. Set against the background of Hawaii’s 1940s polyglot community, the diary offers insights into the often contradictory intersections of race, gender, class, and sexual identity that went into this working-class man’s understanding of himself as a white American man.