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Review of Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II

marrin_uprootedUprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II
by Albert Marrin
Middle School    Knopf    246 pp.
10/16    978-0-553-50936-6    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-553-50937-3    $20.99
e-book ed.  978-0-553-50938-0    $10.99

Marrin (FDR and the American Crisis, rev. 1/15) wanders far afield from the book’s subtitle in order to place his subject in a comprehensively broad context; readers wanting a narrower focus may opt for Imprisoned by Martin Sandler (rev. 7/13). Marrin’s narrative opens briefly with a prologue set on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but then he backtracks for several chapters, delivering a crash course in Japanese history with a special focus on racism. By the late nineteenth century, Japanese Americans had arrived in the United States, a country with its own troubled legacy. Despite the hard work and industry of the first several generations, racial problems persisted well into the twentieth century, ultimately paving the way for Executive Order 9066 and the forcible relocation and internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. Despite this ignominious treatment, Japanese American soldiers distinguished themselves in both the Pacific and European theaters of war. Though the internment camps closed at the end of the war, hastened by a Supreme Court ruling, it was years before the internees received an official apology, reparations, and memorials. A final chapter draws a connection to the treatment of Muslim Americans in the aftermath of twenty-first-century terrorist attacks and discusses the uneasy tension between liberty and security during wartime. Generous quotations and photographs are integrated throughout the text, providing the immediacy that comes with primary sources. Source notes, a bibliography, and an index are appended.

From the January/February 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

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