Internment of Japanese Americans (Greenhaven Press) (book)
Creators: Jeff Hay
Reader intended for high school audiences that includes a mixture of primary, contemporaneous, and contemporary pieces on the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.
The Internment of Japanese Americans is part of Greenhaven Press's "Perspectives on Modern World History," which focuses on key historical events and features a mixture of primary sources, first-person narratives of people involved in the event and background information. After a foreword that includes a general series overview and a brief unsigned introduction that provides an overview on the forced removal and incarceration, the book is divided into three chapters, each of which includes multiple "Viewpoints" on the topic, along with an introduction that provides relevant background and sidebars that expand on key issues.
Chapter 1, "Background on the Japanese American Internment Camps," includes scholarly pieces by Midori Takagi and David M. Kennedy, a 1944 piece on life in the camps by the pacifist legal scholar Caleb Foote, an overview on the redress movement by the Japanese American National Museum , a newspaper article on the movement to memorialize the former confinement sites, and the text of Executive Order 9066 and of a typical exclusion order.
Chapter 2, "Controversies Over Japanese American Internment," includes a period newspaper editorial that argues for the mass removal and incarceration; an excerpt of Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone's Supreme Court opinion on the Hirabayashi case ; excerpts from scholarly works by Roger Daniels (on how Executive Order 9066 came to pass), Page Smith (on the return of Japanese Americans to the West Coast), and Ronald Takaki (on Japanese American military service); and newspaper articles on a 1990 effort by California State Assemblyman Gil Ferguson that would require schools to teach that the removal and incarceration were justified and on a forum featuring members of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee .
Chapter 3, "Personal Narratives," includes excerpts from Yoshiko Uchida's Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982), Tanforan diary entries by Charles Kikuchi taken from The Kikuchi Diary: Chronicle from an American Concentration Camp (edited by John Modell; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973), and excerpts from letters exchanged by Hanaye and Iwao Matsushita, taken from Louis Fiset's Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of an Issei Couple (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), along with a 1997 personal essay looking back at the incarceration experience by Reiko Oshima Komoto.
The book also includes a world map, a chronology, and suggestions for further reading. It is illustrated with photographs.
Editor Jeff Hay is a freelance writer, editor and historian who has written and/or edited multiple history books for young audiences for Greenhaven Press since 2001. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, San Diego (1991, 1994). His four volume A History of the Third Reich (2003) won Booklist Editor's Choice and American Library Association awards.
The Internment of Japanese Americans is well-researched and is historically accurate. Among the minor errors/over generalizations: a claim that the camps "were closed in 1945... or in early 1946" (page 8; Jerome closed in 1944); that "only residents of Japanese ancestry were forced to leave their homes" (14; German and Italian residents were also interned, though on a limited and selective basis); and that the Supreme Court rulings on the Hirabayashi , Yasui , and Korematsu cases were "overturned" in the 1980s (9 and 101; though each man's conviction was vacated in the 1980s in lower courts, the Supreme Court decision was not overturned).