Cleveland in World War II is a collaborative work based on archival sources and contemporary interviews by journalist Brian Albrecht of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and historian James Banks. The interviews by Albrecht are supported by interviews (2007) from the Western Reserve Historical Society’s collection on WWII.
The objective of the book is to document Clevelanders who were touched by the war, with both home front and war front stories forming a compelling narrative. This was achieved by incorporating an extensive index of residents within the Cleveland metropolitan area. Many of those interviewed have died but their role and recollections are preserved, becoming revered memories of family, friends, and an inspiration for today’s residents.
The Crile Archives provided supportive archival material, artifacts, and documentaries for this book. The archives maintains thirteen bound volumes containing several thousand clippings from the Cleveland Press (Military) from 1942-1945, as well as collections of Crile Hospital employees, and an extensive clipping collection from Chester Koch, coordinator of patriotic events for the city of Cleveland during the war years. They also have an established record of community outreach in collaboration with area libraries and schools for National History Day as well as a traveling archival program “Artifacts of WWII” and “Combat Medicine of WW I” presented at various branches of the Cuyahoga County Public Library system.
Given the history of the Crile Archives’ community engagement, it is not surprising that the publication of Cleveland in World War II would generate both interest and sales. The featured stories of journalist Albrecht when combined with the initiatives of the Crile Archives have established a reputation and an anticipated community following on veterans’ history for nearly a quarter century. The book is truly a city’s memoir of WWII. Nearly 350 proper names are cited, linking memories, accounts, documents, and photos to create a compelling story of how one Midwestern city experienced the war, its hardships, and its victory.