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American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II Hardcover – October 15, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0807831731 ISBN-10: 0807831735 Edition: 1st

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American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II + Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II (Hill and Wang Critical Issues)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807831735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807831731
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,179,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Excellent evidence-driven research. . . . [A] valuable contribution."--American Studies


"Muller once again does an exemplary job of unearthing new archival materials and shedding a substantial amount of light on a well-studied topic. . . . Fascinating."--American Historical Review


"An excellent study of the mid-level agencies' messy job at evaluating the loyalty of Japanese Americans, and concludes by contextualizing this case within past and present governmental evaluations of loyalty."--Western Historical Quarterly


"[A] clearly written history. . . . A close and nuanced reading of the hunt for Japanese American disloyalty during World War II. . . . Points to new areas of profitable research for historians of Japanese America."--Journal of American Ethnic History<

"The author places this work within the broader context of history and ties into the development of subsequent loyalty programs to ferret out communists during the Cold War. . . . Recommended."--Choice


"[A] good book on an unexplored dimension of a sorry chapter in American history."--
Journal of American History


"Insightful."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly


"The scholar, history buff or anyone with a thirst for thoughtful and well articulated information and analysis will find value in Muller's examination of this lesser known and less patriotism-inspiring aspect of World War II. [American Inquisition] joins a conversation that has been going on for years and supplements that discussion with new information and unique perspectives."--Asian American Press


"Eric L. Muller's excellent new book, The American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese Disloyalty in World War II sheds new insights into another dark moment in American history. . . . Muller has written a valuable study with important contemporary

"Muller is one of the few scholars who has continued to dig in the archives and papers to find valuable information--stuff that has relevance for the Japanese American community and for American life today. . . . All this is laid out in fascinating detail

Book Description

"At last, Eric Muller shines new light on the U.S. government's failed attempt to define 'loyalty' among a supposed 'enemy race' during wartime. His detailed examination of the judgment of tens of thousands of those of Japanese ancestry, including my family, incarcerated during World War II, is an important historical lesson we must never forget and an injustice we must never repeat."--Norman Y. Mineta

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bao on October 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to the first review, I believe that Eric Muller's book is an important and timely study of the Japanese American internment, and while narrowly focused on the question of "loyalty," this question and how it was determined and the racial prejudices that were exhibited by the various military agencies and WRA point to the ways in which the line between those deemed "loyal" and "disloyal" were arbitrarily drawn, largely by the prejudices of those involved (DeWitt being foremost among those who has been documented as saying that the internment was revenge for Pearl Harbor--a troubled and flawed and revealing comment if ever there was one since it demonstrated that DeWitt, like to many others during WWII could not distinguish between Japanese nationals, Japanese miltitary, Japanese in America of the first generation unable to apply for citizenship due to racist immigration/citizenship laws, and Japanese Americans whose cultural influences included Mickey Mouse, the Boyscouts, and American jazz, as well as Akido, Sushi, and Buddhist practices).

The work that Muller has done will resonate with the questions we are currently facing as a society living in a post-9/11 world; Muslim and Arabs living in America are at risk in a similar way currently. We need to remember the lesson of internment and this question of "loyalty" as not being commensurate with race or religion.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By James L. Muller on November 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is well researched and written in a manner that, although scholarly, is very readable and full of information of facts not previously known to me. In the light of the current state of afairs in our country, this book points out how we have previously acted under the stress of war.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Tsujimoto on January 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There were many inaccuracies in this book regarding Dr. George Ochikubo. Much data was gathered from the national archives written by persons that did not care for Dr. Ochikubo due to the fact that he embarassed them in the courts. One of the discrepancy was that he did not speak the Japanese language. The fact is that he was fluent in the language because his grandparents only spoke Japanese. That was his only method to communicate with his parents.
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8 of 28 people found the following review helpful By William J. Hopwood on October 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a book which primarily concentrates on only one superficial aspect of the World War II program which evacuated persons of Japanese ancestry from West Coast military zones. That aspect was the loyalty screening of such persons for release from relocation camps. Unfortunately, the book, as it relates to the overall evacuation program itself, contains a number of errors, omissions, and misrepresentations which negatively affect its historical credibility.

Specifically, the book incorrectly describes the legal status of the evacuated Japanese during WWII and completely ignores the intelligence reasons for their exclusion from West Coast military areas. The author refers to such persons as all being " American citizens of Japanese ancestry" and the book as "a study of the Japanese American internment as a system of legalized racial oppression." The problem here is that those about whom he writes were not all American citizens, they were not "interned" (as he himself admits in a footnote) nor was their evacuation based on race. The author confuses national origin with race. We were at war with Japan as a nation, not with the Japanese as a race.

As for citizenship, the book does not reveal that the majority of the ADULTS among those evacuated were Japanese nationals, enemy aliens subjcct to detention under long-standing law. Furthermore, the vast majority of the U.S. citizens among the evacuees were minor children at the time. Those of them over age 17 for the most part held dual citizenship status, being also citizens of Japan, thousands having been educated in Japan. Among such Japanese-educated dual citizens were reservists in the Japanese Army and more than 5,000 who renounced their U.S. citizenship to support the Japanese war effort.
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6 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Wes Injerd on January 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
One is immediately forced to judge this book by its title. The author's choice of words betray his intentions -- to once again prove the United States government's failures (in this study, he calls it a "disaster"). The choice of "Inquisition" shows the author's bias, choosing to equate the government's actions with those of the Roman Catholic Church's Inquisition of examination and extermination. Other authors use similar tactics when they use such terms, e.g. "concentration camps," revealing an attitude of disgust and distrust of our Government.

Muller continues his theme in this recent work of his: Look how bad our Government was to the Nikkei. He closes his book with the warning: We'd better watch out because the Government might do it again, i.e. the "unfettered deployment of military power against American civilians on American territory."

Basically, Muller tries to point out that the US military and US Govt. were out to get the Nikkei, that the WDC and Provost Marshal's Office were guilty of thinking the Nikkei were guilty of disloyalty simply by association, that they had the idea that no Japanese could ever be loyal to the US, so they had to lock them up. I quote:

"...a very different view led to the mass exclusion of the Nisei from the West Coast. That view saw the Nisei as an unassimilable group of native-born foreigners, individuals whose 'racial traits' and family bonds prevented them from forming true loyalty to the United States... They were the /only/ group of American citizens who were presumed to be disloyal."

With these results:

"The consequences of the army's presumption of disloyalty were severe.
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