PRISONERS WITHOUT TRIAL by Roger Daniels

PRISONERS WITHOUT TRIAL

Japanese Americans in World War II
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 More proof that good things can come in small packages, this volume--along with two others--kicks off the publisher's ``Critical Issues'' series (consulting editor: Eric Foner), in which experts tackle historical issues whose consequences reverberate today. Not only do the authors of the first three volumes offer cogent overviews of their respective issues, but each is willing to climb out on a critical limb. Daniels (Concentration Camp USA, 1972), for instance, writing about the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WW II, states that ``this book has tried to explain how and why the outrage happened. That is the role of the historian and his book, which is to analyze the past. But this historian feels that analyzing the past is not always enough''--and so he takes on the question of ``could it happen again?'' and concludes that there's ``an American propensity to react against `foreigners' in the United States during times of external crisis, especially when those `foreigners' have dark skins,'' and that Japanese-Americans, at least, ``would argue that what has happened before can surely happen again.'' Similarly, Kirkpatrick Sale--in The Green Revolution (ISBN: 0-8090-5218-0; paper: 0-8090-1551-X)--summarizes the modern history of American environmentalism (which he sees as dating from the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring) and indicts ``a chemical industry that has subsequently produced some 30,000 chemicals of varying degrees of toxicity''), while Anthony F.C. Wallace--in The Long, Bitter Trail (ISBN: 0-8090-6631-9; paper: 0-8090-1552-8)--studies the legacy of Andrew Jackson's cruel Indian policies and declares that ``two hundred years of national indecision about how the United States should deal with its Native Americans have not come to an end.'' A promising beginning, then, to what looks like a very fine series with a cutting edge; future volumes will include Marvin Frankel on Church & State, Michael Hunt on How We Became Involved in Vietnam, and Betty Wood on Origins of Slavery in the United States.

Pub Date: July 12th, 1993
ISBN: 0-8090-7897-X
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1993




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