“On a deeper level, the Second World War was about racism.”
Historian Marrin (FDR and the American Crisis, 2015, etc.) writes with brutal honesty and conviction about a shameful period in American history. He constructs a detailed, well-researched narrative of horrific worldwide events leading up to the “day of infamy.” After Pearl Harbor is attacked, and wartime hysteria and fear spread, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares war on Japan and signs into law Executive Order 9066. The order set into motion the “uprooting,” or forced removal, of West Coast–based Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American citizens) and Issei (first-generation Japanese immigrants) from their homes to so-called relocation centers throughout the U.S. Woven into the narrative, personal stories and poems from the uprooted shine a sobering light on their unbearable conditions, despair, and shame. It’s refreshing to see how the author calls out the War Relocation Authority’s euphemisms, such as “assembly center” or “evacuation,” instead telling it like it is: concentration camp and eviction. Chapters about the heroic military contributions of Nisei (while their families stayed imprisoned in camps) illustrate what it means to serve and take the high road under extremely unjust circumstances. Historical photos throughout are valuable resources that show wartime atrocities and government-censored depictions of camp life and that honor Japanese-American heroes.
The author asks a chilling question: can another uprooting happen? The short answer: yes. (source notes, suggested resources) (Nonfiction. 12-18)