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T H E A L A B A M A R E V I E W 286 by Henry Ford to purchase the dam for a pittance. Martin defended government ownership and opposed the sale, but later had strong differences with the Tennessee Valley Authority when it took over jurisdiction of the dam. By 1940, as the world mobilized for war, Martin and the TVA had overcome their differences. Atkins furnishes fresh details and the company’s perspective on the Muscle Shoals and TVA battles. After World War II, the Alabama Power Company supplied electricity to homes, businesses, and industrial plants springing up around the state. It experienced setbacks and went through a particularly painful period in the late 1970s, when it had a poor image with the general public and clashed with Gov. George Wallace. Again the firm weathered the storm and returned to sound financial footing in the 1980s. It expanded its responsibilities, as did much of corporate America, and sought to provide more than abundant and reliable electricity. It cooperated with the state government in attracting new manufacturers to Alabama such as an up-scale Mercedes-Benz plant. It went into the 1990s like many large corporations, facing new environmental, workforce diversity, and technologies implementation regulations. When the company reached the new millennium it had become a force for industrial development as well as a provider of electricity. Atkins relied heavily on company records and interviews with many of the officers and employees of Alabama Power. Such use of primary sources enabled her to give the work a sense of depth generally not achieved in commissioned works, accompanied by an insider’s view. She never lost sight of the broader context and for this reason the work will be a valuable addition to the history of a public utilities industry, the state of Alabama, and southern economic growth. D. CLAYTON BROWN Texas Christian University Guests Behind the Barbed Wire: German POWs in America; A True Story of Hope and Friendship. By Ruth Beaumont Cook. Birmingham Crane Hill, 2007. 624 pp. $29.95. ISBN 1-57587-260-9. American historians have studied the more than 371,000 German prisoners of war (POWs) in the United States during World War II in greater detail since the second half of the 1970s. The treatment of these “Nazi prisoners” by their American captors contrasted starkly and favorably O C T O B E R 2 0 0 7 287 with the ordeal of captured American service personnel in German or Japanese hands, or with the fate of POWs in Vietnam. It quickly became part of the “good war” interpretation of World War II, and many historians argued that the good treatment of German POWs on American soil contributed to the good relationship between both countries after the war. This “from foes to friends” interpretation has dominated the increasing number of regional and local studies on German POWs in the United States ever since, although the more recent works have begun to pay more attention to the German prisoners’ perspective and the various shortcomings of the American POW program. Cook’s book continues this trend, although her negative reference point is not Vietnam, but Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib (p. 18). Guests Behind the Barbed Wire is essentially a book about Camp Aliceville in Aliceville, Alabama. Other camps are mentioned in the context of transfers from or to them, but Aliceville—both the camp and the community —occupies the center stage. The foreword is written by the former director of the Aliceville Museum, Mary Bess Paluzzi, and Cook used the museum’s records and contacts with former prisoners of war and guards when writing her book. Guests is not the first publication on Camp Aliceville, and those familiar with these and other works on German POWs in the United States will find little that is new or surprising. It follows the familiar outline from the planning of the camp to its closure and subsequent contacts between Germans and Americans after the war, addressing issues such as camp facilities, food, security, discipline, escapes, as well as work and reeducation programs. A parallel narrative trails the stories of various German POWs who ended...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-9961
Print ISSN
0002-4341
Pages
pp. 286-288
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-11
Open Access
No
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