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“World War II POW Camps of Wyoming” selected as state’s great read

◆ Wyoming’s POW camps housed several thousand incarcerated Italian and German prisoners.

By Susan Mark,
Outreach Librarian, Wyoming State Library

Cheryl and her husband Bill live in Dubois, where she often looks up at the mountains from her home where the former Dubois POW camp was located.

“WORLD WAR II POW Camps of Wyoming,” by Cheryl O’Brien has been selected as Wyoming’s “Great Read” for the 20th Library of Congress National Book Festival’s “Discover Great Places Through Reading” list.

The festival, ordinarily held in Washington D.C., will be held virtually this year from September 25-27. The Wyoming Center for the Book, a program of the Wyoming State Library, selected O’Brien’s work. This annual list of books represents the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“World War II POW Camps of Wyoming” was chosen for its historical value, remembering the major prisoner of war and branch camps and the labor provided by the prisoners over the years of their incarceration.

Wyoming’s 19 POW camps housed several thousand incarcerated Italian and German prisoners during World War II. In this book, historical records, photographs, and personal stories reveal details about this little-known part of the state’s history.

The book is of particular significance, as 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the official end of World War II on September 2, 1945

O’Brien grew up in upstate New York and enjoyed a career with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation before relocating to Wyoming in 2002.

She returned to college and graduated from the University of Wyoming with a BA in social sciences with an emphasis in history and archaeology.

She and her husband Bill live in Dubois, where she often looks up at the mountains from her home where the former Dubois POW camp was located and thinks about the challenges the camp residents faced at this very isolated timber camp.

Learn more about the “Discover Great Places Through Reading” list on the Library of Congress website at www.read.gov/greatreads.

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