Book review: Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience during World War II, by Albert Marrin

Marrin, Albert. Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience during World War II. Knopf, 2016. $17.99. 246p. ISBN 9780553509366. Ages 14+. P5Q10

marrin-uprootedOne of the three biggest travesties in the United States—the others being the Vietnam War and the oppression of minorities—occurred during World War II when the U.S. government “relocated” over 100,000 people of Japanese descent, 62 percent of them U.S. citizens, from the western states to concentration camps. Marrin’s detailed account begins with a brief history of culture and politics in Japan and then moves to the country’s violent relationship with China. Photos and text show the racist treatment of people who were of no danger to the U.S. as they were stripped of their belongings and forced to live in the most uninhabitable regions of the country. Later chapters describe the bravery of Japanese citizens who helped the U.S. war effort, first as linguists to translate important Japanese documents and later in a regiment sent to fight in Italy. The author pulls no punches in his explanations of the bigotry leading to these shameful actions by a government that claimed it was fighting for democracy. A masterful coverage of U.S. hypocrisy in the nation’s political philosophy. Notes, bibliographies, and index.

Fall 2016 review by Nel Ward.

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