Wyoming’s 2020 Great Read Chosen

Aug 11, 2020

World War II POW Camps of Wyoming by Cheryl O’Brien has been selected as Wyoming’s 2020 Great Read for the “Discover Great Places Through Reading” list, part of the 20th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival. The festival, ordinarily held in Washington D.C., will be held online this year from September 25-27. O’Brien’s book was selected by the Wyoming State Library as part of its Wyoming Center for the Book program.

“Discover Great Places Through Reading” is an annual list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each book is selected by a Center for the Book state affiliate or state library, and most are for children and young readers. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.

Although most states have featured books for young readers, World War II POW Camps of Wyoming was chosen because of its great historical value — particularly in this year that marks the 75th anniversary of the war’s official end on September 2, 1945. O’Brien’s book remembers the history behind the major POW and branch camps in Wyoming and the labor provided by the prisoners over the years of their incarceration. Wyoming’s 19 prisoner of war 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.

About the Author

Cheryl 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.

O’Brien lives in Dubois, Wyoming with her husband. 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 the isolated timber camp.

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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