When World War II broke out in Europe in September 1939, Kentucky was still plagued by the Great Depression. Even though the inevitably of war had become increasingly apparent earlier that year, the citizens of the Commonwealth continued to view foreign affairs as a lesser concern compared to issues such as the lingering economic depression, the approaching planting season, and the upcoming gubernatorial race. It was only the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that destroyed any lingering illusions of peace.
"In Committed to Victory: The Kentucky Home Front During World War II," author Richard Holl offers the first comprehensive examination of the Commonwealth's civilian sector during this pivotal era in the state's history. National mobilization efforts rapidly created centers of war production and activity in Louisville, Paducah, and Richmond, producing new economic prosperity in the struggling region. The war effort also spurred significant societal changes, including the emergence of female and minority workforces in the state. In the Bluegrass, this trend found its face in Pulaski County native Rose Will Monroe, who was discovered as she assembled B-24 and B-29 bombers and was cast as Rosie the Riveter in films supporting the war effort.
Revealing the struggles and triumphs of civilians during World War II, Holl illuminates the personal costs of the war, the black market for rationed foods and products, and even the inspiration that coach Adolph Rupp and the University of Kentucky basketball team offered to a struggling state. "Committed to Victory" is a timely and engaging account that fills a significant gap in the literature on a crucial period of American history.