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The Japanese American Internment: Civil Liberties Denied (book)

Creators: Michael Burgan

Book cover. Courtesy of Compass Point Books
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

Overview work on the Japanese American wartime removal and incarceration for middle school audiences.


The Japanese American Internment: Civil Liberties Denied tells its story in eight chapters. The first chapters provide a broad overview of the experience through the story of writer Yoshiko Uchida and her family who were evicted from their Berkeley, California, home and set to the Tanforan Assembly Center and to Topaz . The next three chapters cover Japanese immigration and the anti-Japanese movement , the attack on Pearl Harbor and the run up to Executive Order 9066 and the roundup and life in the concentration camps. Chapter Five covers the loyalty questionnaire episode, military service, and Tule Lake . The last three chapters cover the Hirabayashi , Korematsu , and Endo Supreme Court cases, the closing of the camps and the return home, and the redress movement and coram nobis cases.

The book also includes an illustrated timeline, glossary, and list of additional resources and is illustrated with photographs.

Additional Information

Author Michael Burgan (1960– ) studied to be a teacher, but changed his mind after a semester as a student teacher. He served as an editor for Weekly Reader corporation from 1988 to 1994 and discovered his ability to write about history and social studies for children. Since 1995, he has authored over 250 books, the vast majority aimed at younger readers. Many focus on American history.

One of the few children's books to be vetted by a professional historian—Allan W. Austin is listed on the title page as the content advisor— The Japanese American Internment is historically accurate for the most part. One area of confusion is the explanation of the loyalty questionnaire in Chapter Five, which implies that it was administered after inmates had volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team . Other minor issues: citing Takao Ozawa as challenging the ban on naturalization in 1916 (page 21; he filed his petition in 1914); describing " voluntary evacuation " as taking place prior to Executive Order 9066 (36); leaving Topaz off a listing of War Relocation Authority camps (41); and claiming that "[m]ore than half of the detainees at the internment camps were children" (50; about 1/3 were children).

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho
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Find in the Digital Library of Japanese American Incarceration

The Japanese American Internment: Civil Liberties Denied

This item has been made freely available in the Digital Library of Japanese American Incarceration , a collaborative project with Internet Archive .

Might also like The Invisible Thread by Yoshiko Uchida; Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi; I Am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment by Jerry Stanley

Media Details
Author Michael Burgan, Allan W. Austin (content advisor), Katie Van Sluys (reading advisor)
Pages 96
Publication Date 2007
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