When Can We Go Back to America?: Voices of Japanese American Incarceration during WWII

S. & S. Sept. 2021. 736p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781481401449.
Gr 9 Up–This is a narrative history of Japanese Americans, beginning with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, leading to Executive Order 9066, and ending with a chapter on the allyship of Japanese Americans with other marginalized communities facing government sanctioned prejudice, such as the Muslim American community after September 11th and under the Trump administration. This book is divided into five parts, weaving together the appalling history and personal experiences of Japanese Americans during WWII. Readers are given a thoroughly detailed and meticulously researched historical account of what was happening within the country and government at the time. Interspersed throughout are personal accounts of the atrocities faced by incarcerated Japanese Americans and the long-term impact of the government’s actions. These testaments provide a complete look at the range of experiences, from being ordered to leave their homes to family separation, life in the camps, exceptional military service, the landmark civil rights cases, and much more. Filled with over a 100 alphabetically organized, detailed biographies of those who shared their experiences, Kamei’s narrative nonfiction work dives deeply into what it means to be American, then and always. Back matter includes biographies, acknowledgements, a list of assembly centers and WRA relocation centers, a list of internment camps and their populations, a detailed time line, a glossary, and contributor notes.
VERDICT This comprehensive and engaging history of Japanese incarceration during and beyond WWII is essential for all collections.

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