A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America

Overview

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 ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (10) from $9.54   
  • New (3) from $14.11   
  • Used (7) from $9.42   
A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$24.99
BN.com price
Sending request ...

Overview

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

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Japan Times
A superb history about one of the more shameful chapters in U.S. history.

— Jeff Kingston

Times Literary Supplement
[A] memorable... revealing book.

— Jonathan Mirsky

Choice Magazine

Robinson has clearly mastered his subject, and this book provides a clear, comprehensive account, including facts both well known and obscure.... Highly recommended.

Choice

Robinson has clearly mastered his subject, and this book provides a clear, comprehensive account, including facts both well known and obscure.... Highly recommended.

Reviews in History
A Tragedy of Democracy serves as a timely reminder of how badly things can get out of control in times of war.

— Rachel Pistol

Journal of American Ethnic History
In examining the mistreatment of ethnic Japanese Americans and Canadians as a tragedy of democracy, Greg Robinson has produced a triumph of narrative synthesis, one that will stand as the definitive work of its generation.

— Daryl J. Maeda

Nichi Bei Times - Wayne Maeda

Robinson deftly merges the Pacific Rim experience into one coherent magnum opus.

The Japan Times - Jeff Kingston

A superb history about one of the more shameful chapters in U.S. history.

Times Literary Supplement - Jonathan Mirsky

[A] memorable... revealing book.

Reviews in History - Rachel Pistol

A Tragedy of Democracy serves as a timely reminder of how badly things can get out of control in times of war.

Journal of American Ethnic History - Daryl J. Maeda

In examining the mistreatment of ethnic Japanese Americans and Canadians as a tragedy of democracy, Greg Robinson has produced a triumph of narrative synthesis, one that will stand as the definitive work of its generation.

Choice

Robinson has clearly mastered his subject, and this book provides a clear, comprehensive account, including facts both well known and obscure.... Highly recommended.

Nichi Bei Times

tour de force

Booknews
Besides Updike, big names contributing include Norman Mailer, Cynthia Ozick, and Arthur Schlesinger. Their approach is not so much institutional history as a cascade of anecdotes illustrating how the US intelligentsia conduct themselves when they think the hoi poloi are not watching. Among the tales are a feud between brothers over which one was worthier, the struggle against modernism in the 1930s that resulted in F. Scott Fitzgerald and H.L. Mencken failing to be nominated, and Gore Vidal declining membership on the grounds that he already belonged to the Diners Club. Lists of past and present members are appended. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
A surprisingly dull collection of essays commemorating Americaþs preeminent institution of arts and letters on its centennial. Editor Updike, in his confusing foreword and his chapter covering the years 1938þ47, sets the tone, managing to make this venerable, stodgy old institution seem stodgy but venerable. Arranged chronologically, the essays are by historians and literary figures such as Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Cynthia Ozick, Norman Mailer, Louis Auchincloss, and Hortense Calisher, artists (Wolf Kahn and Richard Lippold), and the composer Jack Beeson. Founded in 1898, the National Institute was modeled on the Institut de France and its literary chamber, the Acad‚mie fran‡aise. There would be confusion and in-fighting over the rules, domain, and membership status between the Institute and the Academy (an exalted, and much smaller, body within the Institute) until they were þunifiedþ in 1993. The bookþs liveliest passages have to do with the barring of such figures as H.L. Mencken and Theodore Dreiser, and with some pronounced rivalries: William James refused membership in the academy because his þyounger and shallower and vainer brotherþ (Henry) was already in. Interesting and indicative of the character of the Academy-Institute is its decades-long battle against modernism, waged primarily by Robert Underwood Johnson, the secretary, who along with Grace Vanamee, the þpermanent deputy,þ would maintain a staunchly conservative tone. Leave it to Mailer to add a little zest to the proceedings. His chapter, þRounding Camelot,þ covers the period from 1958 to 1967. He laments that even at that late date theAcademy-Institute was þall but wholly incapable of any kind of effective social or political action.þ The organization would loosen up a little, eventually electing writers and artists Johnson would have abhorred. And its gold medals and grants remain highly sought after. Useful, but insufficiently edited. Nearly every entry re-explains who Johnson and Vanamee were or rehashes the early scandals. (85 photos, not seen)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231129220
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/23/2009
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Robinson, a native of New York City, is associate professor of history at l'Université du Québec à Montréal and author of By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans.

Columbia University Press

Greg Robinson, a native of New York City, is associate professor of history at l'Université du Québec à Montréal and author of By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Tragedy of Democracy is a definitive work on the roundup of ethnic Japanese in the Western Hemisphere.

    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.

    Gene Oishi

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)