The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Book Reviews

This book is notable not only for its illumination of Kenedy history, but also
for the way the author used oral history interviews and personal memorabilia to
tell his story. Thonhoff made friends with a number of local residents and POWs
over the course of some twenty years before writing this book. Camp Kenedy illus-
trates some of the many ways small-town America plays an important role in the
nation's history and embodies the argument that all history is local. By setting
the history of Kenedy in the larger context of the American panorama, Thon-
hoff shows how important each town's history is to the national fabric.
Air Education and Training Command History Office, San Antonio Bruce Ashcroft
Arizona Goes to War: The Home Front and the Front Lines During World War II. Edited
by Brad Melton and Dean Smith. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press,
2003. Pp. xxi+233. Foreword, preface, acknowledgments, maps, illustra-
tions, photos, appendix, bibliography, contributors, index. ISBN 0-8165-
2189-1,, $39.95, cloth; ISBN 0-8165-2190-5, $24.95, paper.)
Arizona Goes to War is the first comprehensive overview of the World War II
years in Arizona. While the details of these years can be found in history surveys
and journal articles, they were not available in one place until now. The book's
editors, Arizona Hzghways writer Brad Melton and former journalist Dean Smith,
assembled a group of journalists, writers, and historians who prepared a far-rang-
ing profile of Arizona during this period.
This book is about Arizona in World War II and the war's transformative ef-
fect on the state. Echoing the ideas of historian Gerald D. Nash in his The Amen-
can West Transformed: The Impact of the Second World War (University of Nebraska
Press, 1985), Melton writes that "World War II was the watershed event that dra-
matically brought about changes in a few short years that would have taken
decades to accomplish" (p. xiv). Smith also concurs with the Nash thesis and cat-
alogs several of the war's impacts on Arizona: a population boom, sprawling
urbanization, a modern post-secondary education system, an economy trans-
formed from a dependence on extractive industries, new opportunities for wom-
en, the initial push for civil rights, and political status as a Sunbelt Republican
stronghold.
Principally focused on the war years themselves, though, the book consists of
a series of loosely chronological chapters that place the war in Arizona's context:
Arizona before the war, Pearl Harbor (how the destruction of the USS Arizona
impacted its namesake), the Japanese-American community in Arizona, the
changing roles of women, Arizona's Native Americans, the establishment of mili-
tary bases, the home front, labor shortages, prisoners of war, Arizona's war
heroes, and the immediate postwar period. The book also includes an informa-
tive travel guide with maps, descriptions, and directions to places associated with
the war.
The book is very readable. Its stated goal is to avoid the "cold, impersonal,
and distant" feel of some scholarly works (p. xiv), and it largely succeeds with
this. It does so by including the voices or stories of "ordinary Arizonans," a series
of short anecdotal "sidebars" with trivia and short stories, and short biographies
of influential, significant, or interesting people from the period. In fact, the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed January 29, 2015.