Akron is proud of the role it played in winning World War II. In “World War II Akron,” Tim Carroll begins with his own grandfather, who was drafted in March 1941. The author uses John Carroll’s letters and service record as a timeline for his research into contributions and sacrifices, both community and individual.
Although Goodyear was supplying blimps to the Navy before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, production increased dramatically, with comparable surges in employment. According to Carroll, Goodyear Aircraft “built more than half the wheels and brakes for the American fighting planes of World War II,” and Akron companies also built bombs, flying suits, anti-aircraft guns and many parts for the B-29 Superfortress.
Carroll knows, though, that the most important offering a community can give is its people. The “Old Man’s Draft” of April 1942 required more than 40,000 Summit County men aged 40 to 64 to register for the draft; in June, the “Boy Scout Draft” called 18-year-old men. Carroll finds dozens of individual accounts of local men who fought, some who survived.
In a 1944 visit, Bob Hope addressed a crowd of 22,000 at the Rubber Bowl, including mothers of almost 600 Summit County war casualties. He praised Akron’s service to the war efforts, saying “Whenever a B-17 sets down once again Akron’s big tires have come through ... Akron is in every battle, on the ground and in the sky.”
“World War II Akron” (186 pages, softcover) costs $21.99 from History Press or from the author’s web site, worldwariiakron.com.
Tim Carroll is an Akron native and an alumnus of the University of Akron. He will sign his book from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Missing Falls Brewery, 540 S. Main St.; from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday at Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St.; from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Angel Falls Coffee, 792 W. Market St.; from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Wadsworth Public Library, 132 Broad St.; and from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Green branch of Akron-Summit County Public Library, 4046 Massillon Road.
In the Rocky River Reservation, in the Cleveland Metroparks, stands a granite monument topped with the likeness of a tiny Yorkshire terrier curled in a soldier’s helmet. That’s Smoky, the companion of photojournalist William Wynne. Norwood native Nancy Roe Pimm tells of two war heroes in “Smoky, the Dog That Saved My Life: The Bill Wynne Story.”
Wynne met Smoky in 1943 in New Guinea, when his tentmate found her while fixing a Jeep. Wynne bought the dog for three Australian pounds, and they became inseparable. He trained her to walk on a tightrope and to parachute from a tree. As Wynne recovered from malaria in a field hospital, nurses took her to visit other patients, making her perhaps the first therapy dog.
Smoky’s intelligence gave her distinction as a war dog when she ran a telegraph wire through a 70-foot pipe, a job which would have taken days and left a vital airstrip vulnerable.
After his discharge, Wynne smuggled Smoky into America in a medical case. They earned fame giving performances at hospitals; Bill became a Hollywood dog trainer, but returned to Cleveland for a job as a flight photographer for a precursor of NASA and later as a staff photographer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“Smoky: The Dog That Saved My Life” (153 pages, softcover) costs $14.95 from Ohio University Press. Nancy Roe Pimm lives in Plain City. She also is the author of “The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World,” in the publisher’s Biographies for Young Readers series. Bill Wynne will be 97 years old on Saturday.
Cat Russell poetry
Everyday life is the source for the poetry in Cat Russell’s collection “Soul Picked Clean.” The provocative title of her opening poem “Why I Can’t Tell You About My First Time” refers to her first library visit, which Russell can’t recall but which instilled in her a lifelong love of reading, leading to visits to high school and college libraries. The delicate “Urn” depicts the poet’s mother seated in her “tastefully decorated office” selecting a cloisonné urn to contain the ashes of her husband, to keep him close by.
“Panic” ably describes the uncontrollability of a panic attack and how it feeds on itself, and “Gathering” the prosaic childhood memory of Russell’s father and his friends relaxing poolside with beer and chips.
Some of the poems were previously published.
“Soul Picked Clean” (89 pages, softcover) costs $12 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Ave., Parma 44134.
Cat Russell will be joined by Pittsburgh poets Jen Ashburn ("The Light on the Wall") and Jason Irwin (“A Blister of Stars”) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mac’s Backs, 1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights.
Cleveland Public Library (325 Superior Ave. E.): As part of the Cleveland Humanities Festival, environmental journalist Andrew Reeves, author of “Overrun: Dispatches from the Asian Carp Crisis,” talks to Ideastream’s Mike McIntyre about the invasive fish species and its threat to the Great Lakes, noon Monday.
Hudson Library & Historical Society (96 Library St.): Andrew Reeves talks about “Overrun,” 7 p.m. Monday. Register at 330-653-6658.
Akron-Summit County Main Library (60 S. High St.): Plain Dealer reporter Joanna Connors reads from “I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her,” 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Stark County District Library (North branch, 189 25th St. NW, Canton): Jim Clark discusses “Rally ‘Round Cleveland: The Story of the 1974 Franchise-Saving Cleveland Indians," 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma branch, 6996 Powers Blvd.): Cuyahoga Community College professor Andrew Bajda presents “Trail of Hope,” an exhibit based on his book “Captured in Liberation,” the story of his father’s mission to liberate Poland in World War II, 6 to 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. The exhibit will remain on display through April 1. Register at 440-885-5362.
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.