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Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad Audible – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Format: Paperback
Robert Asahina's book on the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team is one of the best I've ever read on these brave men and their families. It has very compelling and personal descriptions of the battles these men fought, but what makes it stand out is the linking to the exile of Japanese Americans to internment camps, the political environment and decision-making regarding the treatment of Japanese Americans, and the huge personal, social, and economic costs borne by these loyal Americans during this period.

It is also well-researched, thoroughly sourced and cited, and brings the history up to current levels, including the awarding of the long overdue Medals of Honor to the AJA soldiers. It also discusses the analogies drawn with the post 9/11 environment in the US.

It doesn't cover all of the AJA experience in detail, primarily focusing on the European Theater and the US mainland, but I'd recommend it highly as a first book for anyone interested in this subject. It cites many books and reference materials for interested readers that you can follow up.
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Format: Hardcover
I wouldn't have thought there was much new to say about the Japanese-American experience in WWII -- the internment at home, ad in particular incredible heroism of the soldiers in the famous "Go For Broke" 442d Regimental Combat Team and the "Lost Batallion". But Asahina fills out the story with interviews, maps, and pictures that brought it to life for me and made it relevant to modern issues about "racial profiling." I'm not of Japanese-American ancestry but I found this a terrific read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a long time WWII history buff I can recommend this book without reservation. The author has researched this book very well and presents the facts in a compelling fashion. I was expecting certain passages to regarding how the Japanese-American population at home was treated to be one of finger-pointing, over-sentimentalization and playing the victim to gain sympathy. Boy was I wrong. Negative aspects of "exclusion", internment, and racism, are on the page but so are the bravery and resolve of these people to overcome them. The removal of the Japanese-American population from the west coast of the mainland while leaving the population of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii intact is spelled out in a way for the reader to discover the idiocy in it. For instance the reason given to the "evacuation" was the proximity of Japanese-Americans to military bases and facilities. Yet one of the future members of the 442d worked at Pearl Harbor helping to repair the facilities in the weeks and months after the attack! This book brings to light a story that should be read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read many books about the 442 and 100 Div and the imprisonment of Japanese-American citizens over the years. Mostly because I grew up with kids who parents went through this tragedy. The fathers who fought never talked about their experiences, like most veterans and the mothers didn't talk about the camps either. What I felt as a child when I learned about this part of American history was anger. An anger that has never abated. This book provides a complete picture of individuals who suffered during this sad period of American History. Read this book and be awed, as I have been at the courage of the Japanese-Americans. Read this book and be forever sceptical about politicians and what they say to citizens. It was Roosevelt that issued the Executive Order that resulted in these CITIZENS to be imprisoned simply because of their heritage. It was American Citizens that stole these peoples homes, businesses and then to add insult to injury, shunned the veterans of the 442/100 Div when they returned home. Be angry that as late as a few years ago, there was a road in Texas called "Jap Road" and the citizens there didn't want to change the name and accused the Japanese-Americans who did, of being racists. I am still angry about this.
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Format: Hardcover
I learned a great deal from this book. I knew much about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II--I learned much more. I also knew a lot about WWII combat in Europe--I learned much more. I did not know much about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. It should not be a surprise that I learned much about it, but, as I said, I learned many other things too. I doubted some of the facts presented, but I checked the most important one and found that it is true--21 Japanese-Americans were awarded Medals of Honor from World War II action. Because that fact was correct, I did not check most of the others. I am an old artilleryman. I had never before read of units being resupplied with critical supplies (morphine and other drugs, small arms ammo) via artillery fire. I am still amazed by this, but until I can disprove it, I must believe (and admire) it.
I did not give a five star rating because of the long description at the end of the book where the author brings in many different ways to prove the incompetence of government and military leaders in creating the internments. Some of this was interesting and worthy, but most had been well-demonstrated by that point in the book.
I am a better person for having read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is about the fifth book I have read on the 100/442. The author does an excellent job detailing the exploits of the unit and also skillfully ties in the human element. I would highly recommend this book to all.

Brian E Yamamoto
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