Friday, August 24, 2012
Book Review: Stark Decency
Squirrelled away in far northern NH was a converted CCC camp that became used for housing prisoners with the intention that they make up for the woodcutting citizens who had been called away to war, in an attempt to bring the nation's pulp production up to par.
This camp was unusual in its prisoner composition in that most of its tenants camp from a German division captured in North Africa that was made up primarily of former German prisoners. Be they communists, petty thieves or other, these prisoners now in American hands were not your typical German soldiers.
Their interaction with the Stark, NH community as well as the American soldiers staffing this POW camp is well detailed here. Much of the detail in the book is detailed from conversations with former staff members and German POWs as few records were kept regarding the camp beyond basic numbers and figures.
The book is most interesting for its anecdotes and asides and it captures a very small, unknown corner of the war and its impact on an unpopulated area in the U.S.
Its a good book for those interested in both WWII history as well as New England history. The camp has long since been demolished and only a sign in Stark, NH stands to let travellers know of what once used to stand there but at least this book will keep the reminder available for those wishing to know more.