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Paperback Book Details
  • 09/2021
  • 9781733802130
  • 256 pages
  • $20.00
WWII POWs in America and Abroad: Astounding Facts about the Imprisonment of Military and Civilians During the War
Little has been written about the six million people interned in prison camps around the world between 1939 and 1945. We are aware that the Allies and the Axis powers held one another's armed forces as military prisoners of war (POWs). The Axis powers also confined millions of civilian prisoners in death or concentration camps. In addition, the Axis imprisoned Russians, Slavs, European Jews, Gypsies, medically or physically handicapped persons, non-Jewish intellectuals, and religious leaders. Even the United States interned its own citizens in camps throughout America. Over 125,000 Japanese Americans and 11,000 German Americans were held in the camps. Most were naturalized U.S. citizens. Like military camps, these civilian sites were also surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers. In 1944 when a German POW camp was built in his hometown, the author, as a young boy, became fascinated with POWs. During the last two decades, Gary Slaughter has authored five Cottonwood novels set on the American home front during the last five seasons of World War II, each containing POW storylines. Following book talks, most attendees' questions related to POWs. His extensive research resulted in this captivating book. A largely unknown component of World War II history.
Reviews
Slaughter (Sea Stories: A Memoir of a Naval Officer, 1956-1967) and co-author Joanne Fletcher Slaughter reveal little-known history about prisoners of war in the Second World War, with a focus on German and Japanese prisoners in the continental United States. Roughly 435,000 prisoners were held in America during the war, scattered in camps across the United States, far from the coast and important defense industries, and employed in civilian industry and farming. Slaughter’s emphasis is on captured German and Japanese soldiers held captive in the U.S., covering their everyday experience of captivity and their eventual journey home—though, he notes that many Japanese soldiers tended only to be captured when found unconscious on the battlefield. Although he describes escape attempts, he asserts that no one successfully escaped from a U.S. POW camp to make it back to their home country.

Slaughter discusses other prisoners held during the Second World War, such as American soldiers captured by the Japanese or Germans, civilians held by the United States in Japanese internment camps, and Jews and others murdered in the Holocaust (in the chapter “Other POWs in Axis Camps,” a title whose matter-of-fact diminishment of the horror seems accidental.) Photos and maps provide helpful context and immerse the reader into Slaughter’s stories of the “life within a life” POWs endured in captivity, and he includes excerpts from his previously published Cottonwood novels, which include POW storylines during the Second World War. Extensive appendices give welcome background, from a timeline of the war itself to a list of POW camps in Tennessee and Michigan.

An eyewitness of a prisoner of war camp in Owosso, Michigan—the setting of his novel series—Slaughter skillfully tells the story of POWs in America, and his extensive research is evident. His background in writing fiction brings historical detail to life. WWII POWs in America and Abroad ably illustrates one often hidden element of the home front in America during the Second World War.

Takeaway: History lovers will find much new and fascinating detail in this study of POWs on American soil in World War II.

Great for fans of: Arnold Krammer’s Nazi Prisoners of War in America, David Winston Fiedler’s The Enemy Among Us: POWs in Missouri During World War II.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A-

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 09/2021
  • 9781733802130
  • 256 pages
  • $20.00

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