A little-known story from World War II shows the unique role played by a small group of military personal and native civilians in a remote region of the county.
The role of Alaska in World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor is not often told. “Decades after World War II, the U. S. government kept the documents about the Japanese invasion of Alaska classified, and the Americans who were there when it happened didn’t want to talk about it.” The Pearl Harbor attack left the western coast vulnerable, and the decision-making concerning defense of the Alaska’s Aleutian Islands revealed many military, geographic and social issues. Problems included unpredictable foggy weather at a time of limited satellite technology and what to do about the Aleutian islanders, who had never been away from their isolated homes. The story illuminates the cultural differences between the American and Japanese cultures at that time as well as the reluctance of the U.S. government to treat the native Alaskans as full citizens. The narrative is full of details, and there are times when it is difficult to follow all the threads. Fortunately, the text is supported by many photographs of those involved. Maps, including a strategic military map, increase the level of specificity.
An enlightening account full of compelling stories of survival and perseverance. Pair this with Karen Hesse’s fictional account, Aleutian Sparrow (2003). (sources, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)