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Japanese American Internment Camps (Greenhaven Press, 2002) (book)

Creators: William Dudley (book editor)

Collection of pieces on the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans for middle and high school audiences. As part of Greenhaven Press's "Opposing Viewpoints" and "At Issue in History" series, the assembled pieces express different perspectives on the topic.


After a foreword that serves as a general introduction to the "At Issue in History Series" and an unsigned introduction that provides an overview of the exclusion and incarceration topic, Japanese American Internment Camps is divided into three sections, each of which contains multiple pieces.

The first section, "The Decision to Relocate West Coast Japanese Americans," includes six pieces, four historical, two contemporary. The historical pieces include excerpts from Tolan Committee testimony by Earl Warren and Galen Fisher expressing opposing views for the necessity of mass exclusion of Japanese Americans, as well as part of a February 14 memo from General John L. DeWitt to Secretary of War Henry Stimson and a March 6, 1942 editorial from the San Francisco News arguing that Japanese Americans should comply with exclusion in order to show their patriotism. The two contemporary pieces are by Geoffrey S. Smith and Dwight D. Murphey, expressing opposing opinions of the role racism played in the decision to round up Japanese Americans, with the latter article claiming that the exclusion was justified.

The second section, "Constitutional Questions Raised by the Treatment of Japanese Americans," includes five pieces. It begins with an excerpt from Justice Hugo Black's majority opinion on the Korematsu Supreme Court case , along with one from Justice Frank Murphy's dissent. The other three pieces comment on the Korematsu and other Japanese American Supreme Court cases. While an excerpt from the 1954 book Prejudice, War and the Constitution by Jacobus tenBroek, Edward N. Barnhart, and Floyd W. Matson and a 1999 piece by legal historian David M. Kennedy criticize the rulings, a piece by former Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist from his 1998 book agrees and disagrees with various aspects of the cases.

The final section, "Legacies and Lingering Disputes Concerning the Internment of Japanese Americans," includes pieces that discuss various contemporary issues relating to how we remember the wartime events. The first two pieces, by anthropologist James Hirabayashi and Dallas Morning News columnist Richard Estrada take opposed views on whether the camps should be called "concentration camps." A piece by historian Gary Y. Okihiro outlines the background of the redress movement , Norihiko Shirouzu's 1999 Wall Street Journal article examines differing views within the ethnic community about the Nisei draft resisters , and Robert Ito's 1998 Mother Jones article comparing contemporary critics of the redress movement to Holocaust deniers.

The book includes a listing of additional resources. It is illustrated with just a few historical photographs.

Additional Information

Book editor William Dudley (1964– ) was a staff editor for Greenhaven Press for whom he wrote or edited nearly 100 books between 1988 and 2008, including many in the "Opposing Viewpoints" series.

Introductory and contextual material is historically accurate for the most part. Minor errors include claims that the Roberts Commission report "alleged that Japanese Americans in Hawaii had spied for or otherwise abetted the Japanese attackers" (page 15; the report does not actually say this, though its words are vague enough that many observers at the time came to this conclusion); that the Evacuation Claims Act paid out $28 million and that Japanese American property losses totaled $400 million (20; $38 million was paid out under terms of the legislation, while the $400 million dollar figure was made up by Mike Masaoka ); and refers to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 as the "Civil Rights Act of 1988."

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Fred Korematsu: All American Hero by Anupam Chander and Madhavi Sunder; The Invisible Thread by Yoshiko Uchida; Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

Media Details
Author William Dudley (book editor)
Pages 144
Publication Date 2002
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