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The Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II (book)

Creators: John C. Davenport

Overview work on the Japanese American World War II incarceration aimed at middle and high school audiences.


The Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II tells its story in nine chapters. After an opening chapter that covers the attack on Pearl Harbor , the roundup of enemy aliens , and the rising tide of anti-Japanese sentiment, chapter two steps back to examine Japanese immigration and the anti-Japanese movement. Chapters on the run up to Executive Order 9066 and the beginning of forced removal follow. Chapter 5 includes profiles of the Manzanar , Topaz and Tule Lake camps, while chapter six examines the Japanese American Supreme Court cases and resettlement . Chapters seven and eight look at military service and draft resistance . The final chapter explores postwar redress and the continuing significance of this story particularly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Based entirely on secondary sources, the most cited works are Peter Irons' Justice at War: The Story of the Japanese American Internment Cases . (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Roger Daniels' Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993); Greg Robinson's By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001); and the anthology Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience edited by Lawson Fusao Inada (Berkeley, Calif.: Heyday Books, 2000).

The book includes an illustrated chronology and a list of additional resources. Historical photographs are incorporated into the text.

Additional Information

Author John Davenport (1960– ) is a middle school history teacher in California who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. He has authored numerous books on U.S. and world history as well as biographies for young audiences.

While incorporating relatively current research and being more detailed than most similar books, The Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is marred by many errors, most of them minor. These include: reference to the " Gentlemen's Agreement of 1906" (page 13; the agreement consisted of correspondence taking place in 1907–08); misspelling the name of Issei naturalization law challenger Takao Ozawa as "Takeo" (15); over counting the number Japanese Americans from Hawai'i who were interned, citing 1,037 sent to War Relocation Authority camps, 675 in Justice Department internment camps and 1,500 "interned locally at Sand Island near Honolulu" (36; in addition to the last figure being too large, the vast majority of those held in Sand Island and the other camps in Hawaii were later sent to camps on the mainland and are thus included in the first two figures); attributing the internment of German and Italian aliens to Executive Order 9066 (37; as with Issei arrested after the attack on Pearl Harbor, this internment was authorized by the Alien Enemies Act of 1798 ); claiming Gen. John DeWitt was appointed to head the Army and Navy Staff College "[a]fter the Japanese surrender in 1945" (39; he was assigned to this position in 1943 after being removed as head of the Western Defense Command); claiming there were thirteen assembly centers (44; there were fifteen in addition to two "reception centers"); claiming that "more than 2,000 Latin American Japanese " were held in WRA camps (46; nearly all were held in Justice Department administered camps); claiming that one of those killed in the Manzanar riot/uprising "was a 17-year-old girl" (49; both inmates who were shot by guards were young men); citing Gila River as having been managed by the Office of Indian Affairs (55; though both Gila and Poston were on Indian land, only Poston was managed by the OIA).

Other errors: quoting from Justice Frank Murphy's "dissent" in the Hirabayashi Supreme Court case (63; the quote comes from the draft of a dissent; Murphy later had a change of heart and concurred with his colleagues in what became a unanimous decision); claiming that all four of the Japanese American cases "reached the Supreme Court in 1943" (63; the Mitsuye Endo case did not reach the court until 1944); claiming that the " 100th Battalion had been shipped overseas by the time that the 442nd Regimental Combat Team came into existence" (79; the 100th went overseas in the fall of 1943, while the 442nd formed in March 1943; three pages earlier it is implied that the 100th went overseas in the fall of 1942); claiming that the seven leaders of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee all "received terms of four years behind bars" (85; some received two-year terms); claiming that President Harry Truman addressed the 442nd and made his famous statement about fighting prejudice in 1948 (96; the ceremony was in 1946); and claiming the Evacuation Claims Act allocated $38 for settling property claims (96; $38 was the amount eventually paid out in claims, not the amount allocated).

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like A Fence Away from Freedom: Japanese Americans and World War II by Ellen Levine; Fred Korematsu: All American Hero by Anupam Chander and Madhavi Sunder; Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps: Young Reader's Edition by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald

Media Details
Author John C. Davenport
Pages 122
Publication Date 2010