NONFICTION

Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II

176p. bibliog. charts. further reading. illus. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Walker. Aug. 2013. Tr $22.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-2277-5; PLB $23.89. ISBN 978-0-8027-2278-2.
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RedReviewStarGr 7 Up—Sandler expertly crafts a narrative that manages to explain the horror and incomprehensibility of locking up American citizens in prison camps simply because of their ethnic ancestry. Japanese American relocation has long been expurgated from school history texts about World War II, and here this delicate topic is handled with sensitivity and insight, providing an in-depth look at the full story, from anti-Japanese sentiments during the first wave of immigration through more current issues such as redress. A close examination of both the nation's feelings after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the political conversations that followed is an important part of the story that leads up to the actual relocation of hundreds of thousands of people. There is also a lengthy and moving section about the young Japanese Americans who served in the military in a variety of capacities, from actual combat to intelligence and translation services. Sandler makes it clear that these brave folks were battling prejudice and tyranny overseas while their families and friends were suffering under it back at home. The irony was not lost on them. Photographs help to further the narrative and yet tell their own story, offering rich detail and putting a human face on this tragic episode. A must-have for any library collection.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Martin W. Sandler takes a comprehensive look at the many aspects of the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. He includes some nuances not often discussed, such as politicians who were against internment and Japanese Americans who fought in the U.S. military during the war. Powerful photographs show not only the internment camps, but also the homes and businesses that Japanese Americans were forced to leave behind. There are also compelling images of Japanese Americans serving in battle. Examines some of the long-lasting effects of this period in history, as well as attempts by the U.S. government to redress the wrongs done.
German concentration camp Dachau was liberated by American soldiers -- Japanese American soldiers. "And at the very moment they were setting the Dachau prisoners free, tens of thousands of their relatives and friends back home in the United States were being held against their will in what amounted to American concentration camps." Sandler provides a fairly comprehensive overview of the Japanese American experience during WWII, tracing anti-Japanese prejudice back to the earliest stages of immigration and discussing the effects of Pearl Harbor, the numerous injustices suffered because of relocation, the tremendous amount of patriotism and fortitude exhibited by Japanese Americans both in the camps and in the military, the movement toward redress, and the possibility of a recurrence of that same hysteria-produced prejudice against Arab Americans today. Sandler's earnest telling is complemented by well-chosen primary sources, not just the words (a child, gazing at the guard towers: "Mommy, who are they afraid of?") but also the black-and-white photographs that present striking images: people tagged for relocation -- like baggage; Boy Scouts lowering the camp flag to half-staff in honor of those killed in the fighting; a storefront proclaiming, "I AM AN AMERICAN." These primary sources provoke a visceral response in the reader, while the mix of new and familiar material informs and educates. Bibliography, source notes, and an index are appended. jonathan hunt

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