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The Japan TimesA superb history about one of the more shameful chapters in U.S. history.
— Jeff Kingston
The confinement of some 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, often called the Japanese American internment, has been described as the worst official civil rights violation of modern U. S. history. Greg Robinson not only offers a bold new understanding of these events but also studies them within a larger time frame and from a transnational perspective. Drawing on newly discovered material, Robinson provides a backstory of confinement that reveals for the first time the extent of the American ...
The confinement of some 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, often called the Japanese American internment, has been described as the worst official civil rights violation of modern U. S. history. Greg Robinson not only offers a bold new understanding of these events but also studies them within a larger time frame and from a transnational perspective. Drawing on newly discovered material, Robinson provides a backstory of confinement that reveals for the first time the extent of the American government's surveillance of Japanese communities in the years leading up to war and the construction of what officials termed "concentration camps" for enemy aliens. He also considers the aftermath of confinement, including the place of Japanese Americans in postwar civil rights struggles, the long movement by former camp inmates for redress, and the continuing role of the camps as touchstones for nationwide commemoration and debate. Most remarkably, A Tragedy of Democracy is the first book to analyze official policy toward West Coast Japanese Americans within a North American context. Robinson studies confinement on the mainland alongside events in wartime Hawaii, where fears of Japanese Americans justified Army dictatorship, suspension of the Constitution, and the imposition of military tribunals. He similarly reads the treatment of Japanese Americans against Canada's confinement of 22,000 citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry from British Columbia. A Tragedy of Democracy recounts the expulsion of almost 5,000 Japanese from Mexico's Pacific Coast and the poignant story of the Japanese Latin Americans who were kidnapped from their homes and interned in the United States. Approaching Japanese confinement as a continental and international phenomenon, Robinson offers a truly kaleidoscopic understanding of its genesis and outcomes.
Columbia University Press
— Jeff Kingston
— Jonathan Mirsky
— Rachel Pistol
— Daryl J. Maeda
A Note on TerminologyIntroduction1. Background to Confinement2. The Decision to Remove Ethnic Japanese from the West Coast3. Removal from the West Coast and Control of Ethnic Japanese Outside4. The Camp Experience5. Military Service and Legal Challenges6. The End of Confinement and the Postwar Readjustment of Issei and Nisei7. Redress and the Bitter HeritageNotesAcknowledgmentsIndex
Columbia University Press
Greg Robinson's latest book, A Tragedy of Democracy, is worthy of being the definitive work on Japanese American/Canadian wartime experience. As a Japanese American who spent World War II in an internment camp, I have over the past fifty years read nearly every book that has been written on the subject and I wondered what could be added to the mountain of information already available.
Robinson's work on the Japanese Canadian experience was almost totally new to me. I had read Joy Kogawa's novel, Obasan, and summary accounts of what Canadian Japanese endured during the war, but I was stunned to learn in detail the depth of the animosity and vindictiveness of the Canadian government and the harsh treatment it meted out to the hapless Japanese. It made me think that compared to our Canadian kin, we Japanese Americans had it easy. Much of what he wrote of the Latin American situation was also new for me.
But I call it a definitive work not simply because it deals with all of North America and much of the Latin American experience. This is the first book that gives coherence to a widely diversified, multi-faceted story. Until now, if someone was seriously interested in the Japanese American wartime experience, I would have recommended several books, some focusing on history, others on politics, law, sociology, psychology and so on. I think I can now say, "Read Greg Robinson's book." Beyond finding an impressive amount of original material, he took full advantage of all that has been written on the subject; he looked down from the mountaintop, so to speak, and provided a broad perspective that has been lacking. Although I already knew a great deal of the Japanese American experience, I found it deeply satisfying to come across even familiar material in a broad and coherent narrative that told the story more completely than anything that I have previously read.
In his first book, By Order of the President, Professor Robinson gave us a revealing and disturbing psychological profile of FDR, his biases and predisposition for putting all Japanese - he made little distinction between citizens and non-citizens - in "concentration camps" even before the outbreak of war. In this new work, Robinson demonstrates his psychological acumen regarding Japanese Americans struggling with their dual cultural identity. Describing the Japanese American dilemma of having to choose between the country of their parents' origin and of their own is not easy even for Nisei, or perhaps especially for Nisei, but Robinson, aided to some degree by the perspective of time, shows rare and keen insight into the Japanese American mentality.