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Asian Americans and World War II

by Ronald Takaki & adapted by Rebecca Stefoff

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-7910-2184-X

In a concise and outraged voice, Takaki (Journey to Gold Mountain, p. 637, etc.) uses plenty of quotations and specific instances—even poetry—to describe both the physical and emotional effects of the anti-Japanese sentiment that swept the US in the wake of Pearl Harbor. In Hawaii the hysteria was contained, but on the West Coast Americans of Filipino, Korean, and Chinese descent battled rabid prejudice, and over 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly removed to concentration camps—from which, ironically, many were subsequently drafted. All of these minorities formed units in the armed forces, and most saw heavy fighting overseas. Except for those sent to Europe, the author does not describe their exploits in much detail, preferring here to focus on the domestic scene. This is a condensation of Takaki's much longer Strangers From a Different Shore (1989), and the seams show; interviewees are named once or twice, then dropped (and not indexed), and except for Asian Indians, none of the smaller minority groups puts in an appearance. Still, readers will get a clear picture of how Asian- Americans contributed vigorously to the war effort even as their constitutional rights were being ignored. Sturdy, readable, disturbing. (Chronology; bibliography; index; b&w photos) (Nonfiction. 11-15)