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The Japanese American Internment: Innocence, Guilt, and Wartime Justice (book)

Creators: Ann Heinrichs

Overview of the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans by Ann Heinrichs that is part of Marshall Cavendish Benchmark's "Perspectives on... " series.


After a brief introduction that provides an overview of the topic, the book is divided into six chapters. The first, "A Swelling Tide of Suspicion," covers immigration, the anti-Japanese movement , prewar surveillance of the Japanese American community (including the reports by Kenneth Ringle and Curtis Munson ) and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Chapter Two, "The Aftermath of Pearl Harbor," covers the Japanese American reaction highlighting the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the roundup of enemy aliens, and the run up to Executive Order 9066 . Chapter Three, "Roundup and Relocation," the longest chapter, looks at the forced removal and life in both the " assembly centers ," and the War Relocation Authority (WRA) administered concentration camps. Chapter Four, "Voices of Dissent," is a short chapter that covers camp unrest and the Supreme Court cases. Chapter Five, "Release, Redress, and Reparations," includes a very brief section on the closing of the camps and fairly detailed sections on the Redress Movement and the coram nobis cases . Chapter Six, "Never Again?," notes the later regrets expressed by such incarceration architects as Earl Warren before focusing on the Patriot Act and the continuing relevance to contemporary issues.

The book also includes a timeline, detailed notes, sources for additional information and a bibliography of works cited. Relative to other overview works, The Japanese American Internment includes less on some key elements of the incarceration experience such as the loyalty questionnaire , Tule Lake , military service , and resettlement , but more on resistance and the continuing relevance of the story.

Additional Information

Author Ann Heinrichs has written over 200 books for young people, many on history and politics and others on science. She lives in Chicago.

While getting the story broadly right, the book contains many minor errors. They include: citing 1893 as the date the San Francisco school board ordered Japanese American students segregated (page 10; the correct date is 1906); a caption of the famous Dorothea Lange photograph of the Mochida family gathered for their eviction claims that the "family represents Nisei and Sansei " (13; both Mochida parents were Issei and their children Nisei); Barry Saiki is spelled "Barry Sakai" (26); claims that "[m]ost [interned Issei] were shipped to a prison camp for enemy aliens in Missoula , Montana" (27; interned enemy aliens went to a wide variety of camps all over the country); claims that Earl Warren "was facing reelection" while pushing for mass removal in the spring of 1942 (33; Warren, then the attorney general of California, would run successfully for governor later that year); states that Japanese Americans were excluded from Oregon and Washington (35; they were only excluded from the western half of those states); claims that "[o]f the seventeen hastily prepared assembly centers, eight were in California" (41; all but four were in California); claims that Manzanar 's population was 18,789 (45; this figure was the peak population of Tule Lake; Manzanar's population was much smaller); claims that the "barracks were grouped into blocks of twelve buildings" (45; depending on the camp, there anywhere from twelve to twenty-four barracks per block); claims that "throughout the 1940s the JACL and the ACLU tried to challenge the internment in court" (58; both organizations initially opposed any legal challenge of the exclusion); and claims that "during the war, judges upheld the constitutionality of the internment; after war, they overruled it" (75; though the coram nobis cases resulted in the convictions of Minoru Yasui , Gordon Hirabayashi , and Fred Korematsu being vacated, there was no ruling on the constitutionality of the incarceration).

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

Media Details
Author Ann Heinrichs
Pages 112
Publication Date 2011