CONCENTRATION CAMPS USA: Japanese Americans and World War II by Roger Daniels

CONCENTRATION CAMPS USA: Japanese Americans and World War II

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Of the many rich antilibertarian chapters in American history -- the Sedition Acts of 1798 and 1918, Jackson's Indian Removal Bill of 1830, Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, the Philippines atrocities at the turn of the century and later those at My Lai, the Palmer Raids after World War I, the Smith and McCarran Acts, McCarthyism -- none has been so thoroughly examined as the internment of the Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor. In this unnecessary overview of the ""sordid episode,"" Prof. Daniels (SUNY Fredonia) picks at the fresh scabs but makes no new interpretative cuts. White hostility toward yellow people is posited as the root cause (""The myth of military necessity was used as a fig leaf for a particular variant of American racism""); the failure of liberals to halt or even strongly condemn the incarceration is lamented; conflicts between Issei and Nisei (first and second gefieration Japanese. American citizens) on the loyalty question are described; the various Supreme Court cases (Hirabayashi, Korematsu, Endo, etc.) are summarized; the economic aftermath and the evacuees' postwar attitudes are examined. But all of this has been done before. Milton Konvitz (on whom Daniels draws) is clearly superior in his treatment of the constitutional questions; likewise Carey McWilliams on the race issue, Morton Grodzins on loyalty, and Allan Boswell (America's Concentration Camps, 1967) for a comprehensive assessment. Unlike some authorities, however, Daniels does attempt to lance the myth of Japanese-American docility, offering evidence that ""not all 'loyal' Japanese Americans submitted."" Aside from this point (which is hardly pathbreaking), Daniels has nothing new to offer either substantively or theoretically.

Pub Date: May 8th, 1972
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston