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On The Th Anniversary Of The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor Comes A Harrowing And Enlightening Look At The Internment Of Japanese Americans During World War II From National Book Award Finalist Albert Marrin Just Seventy Five Years Ago, The American Government Did Something That Most Would Consider Unthinkable Today It Rounded Up Over , Of Its Own Citizens Based On Nothing Than Their Ancestry And, Suspicious Of Their Loyalty, Kept Them In Concentration Camps For The Better Part Of Four Years How Could This Have Happened Uprooted Takes A Close Look At The History Of Racism In America And Carefully Follows The Treacherous Path That Led One Of Our Nation S Most Beloved Presidents To Make This Decision Meanwhile, It Also Illuminates The History Of Japan And Its Own Struggles With Racism And Xenophobia, Which Led To The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, Ultimately Tying The Two Countries Together Today, America Is Still Filled With Racial Tension, And Personal Liberty In Wartime Is As Relevant A Topic As Ever Moving And Impactful, National Book Award Finalist Albert Marrin S Sobering Exploration Of This Monumental Injustice Shines As Bright A Light On Current Events As It Does On The Past


10 thoughts on “Uprooted

  1. says:

    Richie s Picks UPROOTED THE JAPANESE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE DURING WORLD WAR II by Albert Marrin, Knopf, October 2016, 256p., ISBN 978 0 553 50936 6 A prominent supporter of Donald J Trump drew concern and condemnation from advocates for Muslims rights on Wednesday after he cited World War II era Japanese American internment camps as a precedent for an immigrant registry suggested by a member of the president elect s transition team We ve done it based on race, we ve done it based on religion, we ve done it based on region, Mr Carl Higbie saidWe did it during World War II with Japanese He stood by his comments in a phone interview on Thursday morning, saying that he had been alluding to the fact that the Supreme Court had upheld things as horrific as Japanese internment camps New York Times, 11 17 16, Trump Camp s Talk of Registry and Japanese Internment Raises Muslims Fears The whole world is festering with unhappy souls,The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles.Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch,And I don t like anybody very much Sheldon Harnick, The Merry Minuet, popularized in 1959 by The Kingston Trio Rightly called humanity s most dangerous myth, racism has no scientific basis Modern genetics, neuroscience, and physiology have proved that there are no basic differences between races Apart from skin color, hair texture, and facial features, all human beings are essentially alike We inherit physical traits from our parents, but social traits morality, manners, ideas, religious beliefs, work habits are not, and cannot be inherited We acquire these from our upbringing, education, and life experiences In his impeccably researched and fascinating read, UPROOTED, author Albert Marrin frames the shameful story of America s locking up Japanese American citizens in concentration camps during World War II within a larger history of racism, as practiced in the United States and by other nations There are some big surprises here Did you know that Dr Seuss drew racially demeaning, anti Japanese cartoons during World War II Eleanor Roosevelt called the uprooting absurd, vicious, and pathetic, and told FDR that the West Coast Japanese are good Americans and have the right to live as anyone else Dorothea Lange took hundreds of stunning, candid photos of Japanese Americans incarcerated at Manzanar that were impounded by the government and only came to light a decade ago World War II was arguably shortened by years thanks to brave Japanese American soldiers, most of whom had family imprisoned in camps The U.S War Department separated all blood plasma by the race of the donor until 1950 From cover to cover, UPROOTED is a gold mine for those of us who love learning the truth about American history.While it is nowadays common knowledge that Thomas Jefferson was a slave owning racist who fathered half a dozen children by a woman he owned, it was a shock to read about Abraham Lincoln s pre presidential writings Lincoln was a white supremacist, a believer in the superiority of the white race, and laced his early speeches with this idea The Declaration of Independence, he insisted, was the white man s charter of freedom The founders had made the United States government for the white people and not for the Negroes The future sixteenth president called blacks members of the inferior races and Mexicans a race of mongrels From Franklin Delano Roosevelt s pre presidential writings, we learn that the man ultimately responsible for the Japanese American concentration camps, viewed people of Japanese origin racially as a group not as individuals Japanese were Japanese in his eyes they could no change their nature than a zebra could change its stripes to polka dots Japanese immigrants are not capable of assimilation into the American population, FDR declared As president, he insisted that the Japanese were a treacherous people and that aggression was in the blood It was with this mindset that, in 1942, FDR signed Executive Order 9066 which permitted the exclusion of any or all people from defined military areas Without debate or dissent, Congress set severe penalties for violating the order The order didn t specify any particular group, but it seems everyone was in agreement as to whom they were targeting.According to the author, The presidential order and the law that confirmed it were unjust The American ideal of justice is based on individual rights and equality before the law It rejects any notion of group guilt We are responsible for what we do personally, not for who we are or how we look Innocence or guilt cannot depend on race, ancestry, religion, language, family, social class, sex, wealth, politics, feelings, or ideas In violating this core principle, decision makers failed to discharge their first duty to protect all the people equally Rather than confront fear and rumor with facts and reason, they let them run wild, even fed them in the name of national security Leaders failures set the stage for untold personal tragedies, casting doubt on the very essence of America The author explains that there are recognized laws for rounding up and confining enemy aliens, foreigners inadvertently stuck in America when their country and America become enemy combatants But taking away the constitutional rights of American citizens, because their ancestors came from a country that was suddenly at war with America You d think that this would be unthinkable and unconscionable Yet that was the result of FDR s executive order and its enforcement against Japanese Americans As the result of American fear, economic jealousy, and racial bigotry, than 100,000 Japanese American citizens were forced to leave behind virtually all of their possessions and their pets as they were uprooted and imprisoned in concentration camps for the crime of being of Japanese descent Having pursued the American Dream, they lost everything they d worked for and accumulated, along with their Constitutional freedoms Racists, con artists, and opportunists got great bargains on the belongings that had to be left behind I was surprised to learn that Japanese Canadians suffered similar treatment in Canada The author explains how the War Relocation Authority WRA employed euphemisms and propaganda in seeking to influence public opinion about what was taking place A euphemism is a mild word or phrase that is used in place for another one that is normally considered blunt, unpleasant, or upsetting The term concentration camp was banned by those in charge of running the program Instead, it was stated that Japanese Americans were evacuated to internment camps But as FDR s secretary of the interior Harold Ickes, stated, They were concentration camps nonetheless Interestingly, the author points out, the 1940s euphemistic term internment camp is still used today by authors, journalists, and textbooks Trump confidante Carl Higbie was only partially correct about the Supreme Court Albert Marrin details the cases brought by imprisoned Japanese Americans that reached the Supreme Court A court majority affirmed the curfew and exclusion orders, but ultimately ruled that Japanese American prisoners were being denied habeas corpus and were Constitutionally entitled to either a court hearing or freedom This effectively ended their imprisonment The author concludes by drawing out the historical parallel between Japanese Americans during World War II and American Muslims today American Muslims have been vilified as a group over the past fifteen years The president elect has still not walked back his lie that he saw thousands and thousands of American Muslims cheering on New Jersey rooftops as the Twin Towers collapsed Will he try to bar all Muslims from entering the U.S Will he try to force Muslim American citizens to register like the Japanese Americans UPROOTED shows that in times of national crisis, individual liberties can be far too easily abrogated Fortunately, as UPROOTED teaches us, the U.S Constitution safeguards these liberties and requires due process if and when a president pursues such un American actions.Richie Partington, MLISRichie s Picks


  2. says:

    Overall, I felt that Marrin provided a lot of background to what led to the government s mistreatment of Japanese Americans and he was also very clear that it was a mistake and violated Constitutional rights I expect this to end up on year end best lists and maybe even award lists at ALA Midwinter.However, there s one relatively small matter that annoys and angers me, especially in a book about prejudice As Marrin explains how white gold prospectors saw California as a white paradise and clashed with the Native American tribes already living in the area, he lists some of the names the whites called the Maidu, Miwok, Pomo, and other tribes living in areas destined to become goldfields p 46 These include slurs often used for other groups, like beasts, swine, snakes, pigs, baboons, apes, and gorillas The common name, however, was Diggers, because they dug up edible roots p.46 Marrin himself then goes on to call these tribespeople Diggers, sans quotes, for the next two paragraphs, until the end of the section Diggers may not be a terribly shocking slur it sounds like the kind of thing you could say in polite company but that doesn t make it appropriate to use it to refer to the Maidu, Miwok, Pomo, or any other tribal nation native to California These paragraphs should have been rewritten and I m frankly appalled that a number of people an editor or two, his agent, other readers read this and saw no problem.


  3. says:

    This is such an important read, particularly in our current political climate.


  4. says:

    When I finished this I wanted to turn around and reread it again I really liked author Albert Marrin s turn of phrases and found myself wanting to write them down I read it on the elliptical machine and writing notes wasn t in my wheels I m not that skilled at multi tasking The overall message is that racism exists all over the world and that people need to learn from the past or they will repeat it The framework of the book begins with racist views promoted by the Japanese during World War II in Japan, a bit of China, Germany, and last America The views in America and the questionable decisions by leaders to incarcerate Japanese Americans without due process during WWII is brought to light Marrin puts the issues in historical context and shows how the actions by leaders and the justice system as well as the use of media influenced and later changed the public s mind to overturn the unjust laws infringing on civil rights He points out leaders that had racist views and shows how it mirrored the national or global dialogue at the time He argues that racism harms countries and the civilians leading to poor decisions and harmful consequences A well written and thoughtful book that I highly recommend.


  5. says:

    I swear sometimes the nonfiction aimed at a younger audience is a better read than the stuff meant for adults Marrin lays out the important details of the relationship between the Japanese, the Chinese, and White Americans, and how all of those came together to lead towards Japanese internment in WW II Marrin also explores the various ways Japanese citizens were discriminated against before and after the war and takes time to showcase the Japanese Americans who still served their country with honor even as their families were being treated as enemies.A good, solid history that s a great starting point if you re looking to understand WW II issues in a larger context.


  6. says:

    Albert Marrin s books always disappoint He chooses excellent material, but he is unable to communicate the information to his target audience He always goes into textbook mode and loses my interest If he can t keep an adult interested, it s highly unlikely a teen is going to see it through He starts off effectively talking about the bombing of Pearl Harbor At this point, I have high hopes it s going to be a good book Then he goes way off topic, in my opinion, talking about Japan s history with China It ruins the book for me He needs to tighten up his writing Stick to the topic Write in narrative mode rather than textbook mode And dig deep to connect the reader emotionally Books about detainment camps should strike a nerve If he s trying, he s not successful.


  7. says:

    This was first a very big picture, context providing summary of relevant race and international relations throughout history and then afterward, a bit about WWII For such a short non fiction work, I suppose I was hoping for detail about the actual Japanese American Experience concentration camps, military translators and soldiers, etc and less about the Opium Wars and Jim Crow laws there are other hopefully specific books I ll read to learn about them.Also, okay I have to address it he quotes, I kid you not, Yoda from THE PHANTOM MENACE Lordy.


  8. says:

    After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, war hysteria ran rampant Unfortunately for Japanese Americans living in the United States that meant facing increasing prejudice and mistreatment On February 29, 1942, Franklin D Roosevelt, then President of the United States, issued Executive Order 9066 calling for all necessary measures to protect the country, especially military areas The purpose of the order was to justify moving all Japanese American people living on the mainland to what were called internment camps really concentration camps Marrin presents a thorough look at what lead up to this decision going back to our encounters with the Japanese in the 1880s , what happened as a result of that decision the creation and filling of the camps , and what happened afterward This compelling narrative holds nothing back, providing a look at blatant racism as a cause of Japanese Americans being uprooted, but also the cause of Japanese aggression and brutality during the war Some of the stories and photographs included are rather graphic, but necessary in telling what really happened In addition to telling the stories of those imprisoned by their own government, Marrin tells the stories of some Japanese Americans who played key roles in helping the Allies win the war, as interpreters with military intelligence and also as soldiers in segregated units Discussion of the legalities of the executive order and how it has been dealt with since are also included The last chapter compares the events that lead to the unfair imprisonment of the Japanese Americans to the current furor over Muslim extremists after September 11, 2001 Marrin repeats the quote by George Santayana, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it He makes a very strong case.


  9. says:

    Important book It literally gave me nightmares War is insanity, 20th century left no doubts about that, but this book, with its patient explanations of causes and reasons that lie beneath the course global politics took in the WW2, gives insight into darkness that is in every human A darkness that will bloom into hysteria, racism, hate and destruction of life if individuals are blinded by manipulated propaganda, groupthink and the lowest urges This is ultimately not about who was right or wrong, or wronged There is no difference between people who stand under different banners in terms of capacity to inflict evil or good This is how history ethics should be taught so that no one in under the illusion that they have the monopoly on justice, righteousness or victimization This is a reminder that no one may hide behind a nation, orders, flags, color, ethnicity, and that actions of each individual are their own choice and responsibility.


  10. says:

    Marrin details the history of US concentration camps for Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor Focusing on racism, the author presents detailed histories of Japan, China and the US He asks important questions like, how could this have happened, by examining the balance between liberty and security, history and law This is a really difficult subject, well handled as a YA title, and it seems, to me, important and relevant than ever Words matter.