Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II

Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II

Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II

Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II

Synopsis

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt called for the largest arms buildup in our nation's history. A shortage of steel, however, quickly slowed the program's momentum, and arms production fell dangerously behind schedule. The country needed scrap metal.nbsp;Henry Doorly, publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, had the solution. Prairie Forge tells the story of the great Nebraska scrap drive of 1942- a campaign that swept the nation and yielded five million tons of scrap metal, literally salvaging the war effort itself.
nbsp; James J. Kimble chronicles Doorly's conception of a fierce competition pitting county against county, business against business, and, in schools across the state, class against class- inspiring Nebraskans to gather 67,000 tons of scrap metal in only three weeks. This astounding feat provided the template for a national drive. A tale of plowshares turned into arms, Prairie Forge gives the first full account of how home became home front for so many civilians.
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Excerpt

There was no way that I could have known what was in store for me nearly ten years ago when I opened an ordinary-looking folder in the advertising archives at Duke University. the label affixed to the folder simply described its contents as involving a scrap metal drive of some sort. Since I was looking for material on World War II advertising, I almost skipped it altogether. I recall thinking: What do I care about scrap metal? Had I embraced that fleeting thought, I would have missed a flurry of consequences in the subsequent years, all of them good.

Inside that folder, it turned out, was a document that would alter much of my research agenda. It eventually led to a journal article in Great Plains Quarterly, a feature story in Nebraska Life magazine, a documentary movie (co-produced with my colleague, Tom Rondinella), and now to this book. the critical document at the heart of these productions was a booklet that had been produced by the Omaha World-Herald in 1942 (and as far as I have been able to tell, Duke’s copy is the only remaining one in existence). I recognized the newspaper’s name immediately, as I’d grown up reading it, especially on fall Sundays when the sports section was filled with exhaustive analysis of and commentary on the Cornhusker football team’s latest exploits. But what did the World-Herald have to do with scrap metal in World War II? I soon found out. the booklet drew me in, and I have hardly stopped ever since to look back at the decisive moment that started it all.

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