Jewel of the Desert: Japanese American Internment at Topaz

Jewel of the Desert: Japanese American Internment at Topaz

by Sandra C. Taylor
     
 


In the spring of 1942, under the guise of "military necessity," the U.S. government evacuated 110,000 Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast. About 7,000 people from the San Francisco Bay Area—the vast majority of whom were American citizens—were moved to an assembly center at Tanforan Racetrack and then to a concentration camp in Topaz,… See more details below

Overview


In the spring of 1942, under the guise of "military necessity," the U.S. government evacuated 110,000 Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast. About 7,000 people from the San Francisco Bay Area—the vast majority of whom were American citizens—were moved to an assembly center at Tanforan Racetrack and then to a concentration camp in Topaz, Utah. Dubbed the "jewel of the desert," the camp remained in operation until October 1945. This compelling book tells the history of Japanese Americans of San Francisco and the Bay Area, and of their experiences of relocation and internment.

Sandra C. Taylor first examines the lives of the Japanese Americans who settled in and around San Francisco near the end of the nineteenth century. As their numbers grew, so, too, did their sense of community. They were a people bound together not only by common values, history, and institutions, but also by their shared status as outsiders. Taylor looks particularly at how Japanese Americans kept their sense of community and self-worth alive in spite of the upheavals of internment.

The author draws on interviews with fifty former Topaz residents, and on the archives of the War Relocation Authority and newspaper reports, to show how relocation and its aftermath shaped the lives of these Japanese Americans. Written at a time when the United States once again regards Japan as a threat, Taylor's study testifies to the ongoing effects of prejudice toward Americans whose face is also the face of "the enemy."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520080041
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
10/22/1993
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
364
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.35(h) x 1.22(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
1Japanese San Francisco1
2From Pearl Harbor to Evacuation42
3Life in a Racetrack62
4Welcome to Utah89
5The Jewel of the Desert119
6Dissension, Departure, and Grim Determination165
7An End and a Beginning201
8Nikkei Lives: The Impact of Internment227
9Coming Home, Wherever That Is265
List of Abbreviations287
Notes289
Bibliography327
Index335

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