From 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 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, after stripping them of their livelihoods, liberty, and dignity, the government demanded even more by drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these American citizens grudgingly complied with the draft, but several hundred refused and practiced a different sort of American patriotism-the patriotism of protest.
Free to Die for Their Country is the first book to tell the powerful story of the men who rejected the government's demands. Based on years of research and personal interviews with the resisters, their families, and their supporters and detractors, Eric L. Muller's work recreates the welter of emotions and events that followed the arrival of the draft notices in 1944: the untenable situation of the Japanese American men caught between national loyalty and personal indignation; the hypocrisy of the government in asking men to die for their country when it had denied them their rights as citizens; the shoddy trials of the protesters that produced convictions and imprisonment; and the treatment of the resisters by the Japanese American community, who looked upon them as pariahs who were hindering progress toward assimilation.
Muller looks behind the horrible story of the internment camps to find a tale less well known and even more troubling, illuminating a dark corner of American history during World War II. Affecting and clear eyed, Free to Die for Their Country reveals, in almost cinematic fashion, an untold chapter of our recent past.