From Publishers Weekly
This work simultaneously makes an important contribution to the history of the WWII imprisonment of Japanese-Americans and highlights publishing's editing problems, especially for small presses. Lowman, who died in 1999, was a former National Security Agency officer involved in declassifying intelligence records, including sources from MAGIC, the decrypted Japanese diplomatic traffic. That material, much of it from late 1941 and early 1942 and reproduced here, describes systematic recruitment of Japanese residents, citizens and noncitizens into networks designed to provide information to Japan both before and after the outbreak of war. Without ascribing Executive Order 9066 for Japanese-American internment entirely to this information, Lowman makes a solid case that the intelligence community's faith in its credibility contributed significantly to the government's decision. But instead of directly rebutting charges that sheer racist hysteria contributed as well, Lowman digresses on one hand into a general history of the MAGIC decryptions, and on the other into a bitter critique of the 1988 decision to compensate the former prisoners. And too often Lowman's documents are left to speak for themselves, without a supporting analytical structure. Such problems were probably exacerbated by posthumous publication, but more disciplined editing might have produced a more persuasive line of argument. (Feb.)Forecast: Anyone interested in primary sources related to Japanese-American internment will find them more easily here than under the Freedom of Information Act, but low production values will keep this book out of many libraries.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From the Publisher
Magic provides the first comprehensive survey of U.S. Intelligence related to the evacuation of Japanese from the West Coast during WW II. It includes an analysis of the Magic intercepts dealing with espionage as well as the actual messages.
Over a hundred intercepts and reports are included. All but part of one of which were omitted, ignored, left out or unknown to the Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians,
A reader need not agree with President Roosevelts decision to evacuate to realize that a serious security problem existed on the West Coast. Imperial Japan, notorious at the time for using overseas Japanese to secure its intelligence, by May 1941 had resident Japanese watching the Los Angeles Harbor and the Mexican Border; had Japanese Americans working in aircraft plants to gather intelligence and had made contacts with Japanese Americans in the U.S. Army for the same purpose. And this was just a small part of it five months before Pearl Harbor.
Lowman also critiques the operation of the CWRIC, the courts and the congress, all of which failed in their quest for the truth.
For those willing to review the material and come to their own judgment rather than blindly subscribing to the politically correct version of the event, this book is a real eye opener.
Magic tells it like it was. It reveals the real story behind what one historian claims to be the most lied about event in American history. No wonder Publishers Weekly thought it was poorly edited and not worth buying.