Days of Infamy: How a Century of Bigotry Led to Japanese American Internment

Scholastic Focus. Jun. 2022. 288p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781338722468.
Gr 6 Up–A shameful chapter of American history is put under the microscope in this well-researched examination of the policies, laws, and attitudes that led to Franklin D. Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066. In the fearful frenzy after the attack on Pearl Harbor, decades of accumulated anti-Asian rhetoric made Executive Order 9066 possible, with the order sending thousands of people of Japanese descent into military-patrolled concentration camps where they had little privacy, few possessions, and no access to their property or businesses. Readers will no doubt be shocked and saddened by the political climate that led to that moment, but the detailed narrative shows the building snowball of resentment careening toward Asian Americans. Beginning with the Constitution and the criteria for citizenship therein described, each chapter continues the story of Chinese and then Japanese immigrants, illuminated by the many amendments and court rulings that allowed some among them to become U.S. citizens. Goldstone does an exceptional job extrapolating how the questions surrounding race and citizenship that brewed for decades before World War II can apply to DACA and DREAM citizenship questions and race relations in modern times. Goldstone also matter-of-factly discusses the importance of accurate language—he calls the bigoted anti-Asians “white supremacists” and describes the internment facilities as “concentration camps”—always defining the terms and explaining to readers why it is both accurate and important to do so.
VERDICT An important purchase for all libraries.

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