Free to Die for Their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II

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One of the Washington Post's Top Nonfiction Titles of 2001

In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, the government demanded even more, drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these Americans complied, but Free to Die for Their Country is the first book to tell the powerful story of those who refused. Based on years of ...

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Overview

One of the Washington Post's Top Nonfiction Titles of 2001

In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, the government demanded even more, drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these Americans complied, but Free to Die for Their Country is the first book to tell the powerful story of those who refused. Based on years of research and personal interviews, Eric L. Muller re-creates the emotions and events that followed the arrival of those draft notices, revealing a dark and complex chapter of America's history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After imprisoning them in 1942, the U.S. government began drafting Japanese-Americans for military service two years later. In Free to Die for Their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II, University of North Carolina law professor Eric L. Muller details a group of men caught in a horrific catch-22: ostracized by the Japanese-American community for not complying with Uncle Sam's call, yet without rights as citizens. The book is backed by years of research and personal interviews, and fills in an important chapter of United States history. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In the many books written about the Japanese American internment during World War II, one aspect that has not been treated in much detail is what happened when the U.S. military decided to draft the same young men the government had locked away in internment camps. Muller (Univ. of North Carolina Sch. of Law) takes a detailed look at the resisters at the Minidoka, Heart Mountain, and Tule Lake camps. Using interviews with 11 of the resisters, as well as government records, court cases, internment camp newspapers, and more, Muller investigates why the government reinstated the draft for Japanese Americans in 1943, considers why some of the Nisei resisted, and examines the trials, prison sentences, and lasting aftereffects on their lives. He also looks at the legal reasoning, or lack thereof, behind the verdicts; the Minidoka and Heart Mountain resisters were convicted, while the Tule Lake resisters were acquitted. Although all were pardoned in 1947, they still face criticism from family and from veterans, and most have remained silent until now. An important, well-balanced telling; for public and academic libraries. Katharine L. Kan, Allen Cty. P.L., Fort Wayne, IN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226548227
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Series: Chicago Series in Law and Society
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric L. Muller is a professor of law at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments
1. Untold Patriotism
2. Uneasy Welcome
3. Injury
4. Insult to Injury
5. Reaction
6. Jails within Jails
7. A Shock to the Conscience
8. Incarceration Redux
9. Pardon?
Afterword Notes Index

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