August 22, 1942

This cover shows a young American gunner staring off at a beautiful night sky, full of stars and a shining full moon. The young airman seems strangely tranquil in the midst of a war in which thousands die every day. Indeed, it is completely possible that the plane is on its way to do battle with the German airforce, or participate in a bombing run over some enemy city. Yet even preoccupied with the thoughts of death, honor, and heroism that doubtless passed through the heads of millions of American soldiers on the eve of battle, the young man cannot resist the natural beauty of the full moon on a clear night. The image also plays with the sharp contrast between the plane, the latest in American technology, and the vast emptiness of the sky. It makes a subtle yet present commentary on the just how much technology has still yet to do. Indeed, it may be fair to say (especially given the post-war connection between NASA and the air force) that this pilot is representative of the American dream of exploration and enterprise, and that such unique and noble (from the point of view of the patriotic American readers of the magazine) ideals remain in the face of war. This cover thus contains within it both the contrast of finding a kind of spiritual peace in the midst of war and the opposition between nature in all its glory and the man made plane that carries young men to fight for culturally defined notions of politics and morality. It also shows the humanity (and the dreams for the future) which soldiers (at least American soldiers) keep even in the face of mortal combat.

The War Abroad

July 27, 1940

November 14, 1942

December 26, 1942

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