Synopses & Reviews
This collection of colorful, often witty columns from a Washington state newspaper during World War II documents daily life on the home front and offers a fascinating social history of wartime America.
Early in 1941 the Grays Harbor Post, in Aberdeen, Washington, introduced its readers to "The Kitchen Critic", a new column chronicling life in nearby Cohassett Beach. By the end of the year the U.S. was at war, and columnist Kathy Hogan's weekly dispatches turned to soldiers, rationing, and the barbed wire that lined the sand dunes around her weathered cottage. Today, fifty years later, Kathy Hogan's writings provide a window onto how one Pacific Northwest community responded to World War II. Cohassett Beach Chronicles, a collection of Hogan's columns from the war years, offers a remarkable social history of the war at home. The attack on Pearl Harbor brought U.S. troops to Cohassett Beach and to towns up and down the West Coast. With sharp wit and perception, Hogan writes of civilians valiantly coping with this friendly occupation and wartime scarcity. Her neighbors - loggers, commercial fishermen, Finnish cranberry farmers - learn to live with blackouts, blimps, and a ban on beachcombing. From her victory garden, Hogan watches troops - city boys unnerved by the tall timber and farmers' sons in awe of the ocean - come and go. Hogan's weekly descriptions of life on the home front capture America's wartime mood. Together, her columns document the war's tremendous impact at home, from the internment of Japanese Americans and the spread of government regulations to the changing role of women. They also reveal that in spite of the war effort life, in many ways, continued as it always had. There was still time to pick blackberries, gossip at the local tavern, and attend the occasional Friday night dance.