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20ogBook Reviews133 The Great Plains during World War II. By R. Douglas Hurt. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008. Pp. 524. Illustrations, tables, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 978080322409, $34.95 cloth.) Histories of the United States in World War II are usually predictable: D-Day, Batde of the Bulge, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, the Manhattan Project, etc. Even if tiiey deal with the home front, they typically run to Rosie the Riveter, war bond drives, and victory gardens and go litde further. In the Great Plains during World War II, author R. Douglas Hurt treats a region and topics that have long needed historical coverage. Hurt is professor and head of the History Department at Purdue University. His earlier works, The Indian Frontier, 1763-1846, and Problems of Plenty: The American Farmer in the Twentieth Century, have already given him chances to explore portions of the Great Plains in other eras. His newest work expands our understanding of the region. Topically, Hurt deals with isolationism, war work, women in war industries, the farm front, wartime rationing, prisoner of war camps, and Native Americans in U.S. service, among others. With so many topics in such huge geographic area, Great Plains during World War II is admittedly an overview—an entree to more extensive work: "Each chapter could easily be expanded into a book centered on the region, yet only in the case of the Indians have several books been written on the subject" ( x) . Nevertheless, Hurt's book is an excellent approach to the wartime region. His findings are honest, and they often explode the myth that, coming out of the World War II, the United States was homogenous in its prosperity, dynamism, and oudook. "It is not the history of unbridled economic and social change. It is not a story crafted in black-and-white absolutes. Certainly the war years were a time of prosperity . . . [but they] were also a time of racism, the denial of civil liberties , and greed" (xii). Hurt well chronicles the plight of migrant workers, who played a significant role in wartime agriculture and economics, but ran into a type of Hispanic "Jim Crowism." "In West Texas . . . some farmers housed migrant workers in barns and chicken coops." In Lubbock, migrant workers could not use "public facilities for bathing and toilet needs. In Lamesa, the toilets in die City Hall were locked at noon on Saturdays, and gas stations often refused access" (205). Other elements of the war were more welcome, such as aircraft plants and other defense industries. Prisoner of war camps also stimulated economies. In Deaf Smith County, Texas, the construction of Camp Hereford brought a thousand extra workers. The POWs, however, were not as well received: "A resident of Hereford recalled, 'They had it better than we did. They had indoor plumbing, electricity in all the buildings, recreation centers, and a host of conveniences that most of other people in the surrounding area didn't have'" (319). Hurt notes several times that the Great Plains was agricultural when the war began, and it was agricultural when it ended. After 1945, much (but not all) of the governmental largesse that had benefited the region left for more perma- 1 34Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly nent spots in the East and Far West. Racism and conservative views on civil liberties did not suddenly change. As Hurt ably sums up, "if the war years for the people of the Great Plains could be painted, it would not be a canvas with brilliant colors or one with stark tones of black and white. Radier, the picture would be multiple shades of gray" (400). Southwestern Adventist UniversityR. StevenJones Generations ofExclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race. By Edward E. Telles and Vilma Ortiz. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008. Pp. 410. Maps, tables, charts, appendices, notes, references, index. ISBN: 9780871548481, $39.95 cloth.) Sociologists Edward E. Telles and Vilma Ortiz from the University of California-Los Angeles contribute to the essential literature on U.S. Latinos with their longitudinal study of Mexican Americans from the 1 960s to the present. The authors procured original survey response questionnaires from the groundbreaking 1965 Mexican American Study Project (MASP) when they were found in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 133-134
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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