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Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II Hardcover – August 27, 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–Sandler expertly crafts a narrative that manages to explain the horror and incomprehensibility of locking up American citizens in prison camps simply because of their ethnic ancestry. Japanese American relocation has long been expurgated from school history texts about World War II, and here this delicate topic is handled with sensitivity and insight, providing an in-depth look at the full story, from anti-Japanese sentiments during the first wave of immigration through more current issues such as redress. A close examination of both the nation's feelings after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the political conversations that followed is an important part of the story that leads up to the actual relocation of hundreds of thousands of people. There is also a lengthy and moving section about the young Japanese Americans who served in the military in a variety of capacities, from actual combat to intelligence and translation services. Sandler makes it clear that these brave folks were battling prejudice and tyranny overseas while their families and friends were suffering under it back at home. The irony was not lost on them. Photographs help to further the narrative and yet tell their own story, offering rich detail and putting a human face on this tragic episode. A must-have for any library collection.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Yes, the bombing of Pearl Harbor drew America into WWII. But it also created strong waves of fear and mistrust of Japanese American immigrants in the U.S. and led to their internment in poorly appointed, remote “relocation centers” for the duration of the war. In addition to placing their story within a broader context, Sandler uses apt quotes to introduce readers to individual evacuees and their families, who lost their belongings, yet maintained their dignity during their sometimes humiliating ordeals. The book also documents the loyal service of Japanese Americans in the U.S. military as translators and fighting forces. In the opening scene, Japanese American soldiers, whose families still lived in relocation centers surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, help liberate prisoners from the Germans’ Dachau concentration camp. The well-organized, clearly written text also fills in the broader history of Japanese immigrants in America, from the first generation, who were often excluded from citizenship, to the activists of the 1960s and 1970s, who demanded a public apology and reparations from the U.S. government for the treatment of their elders during the war. Beautifully illustrated with well-chosen photographs and other documents, this handsome book offers a clear view of an episode in American history that still receives too little focus. Grades 6-10. --Carolyn Phelan
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens; First Edition edition (August 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802722776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802722775
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.8 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am seeing more and more of our history lost and not covered in our schools. Even many older people do not know that the Japanese were moved out of their homes into barely habitable internment camps for the duration of WWII. `Imprisoned' tells that story, covering most aspects of the experience that Japanese Americans on the west coast experienced.

The book is listed for grade 5-8, but even older could learn much and recognize the value of this book. There are lots of photos, but one part bothers me. The author has a very interesting section on the Nisei units - the army units made up of Japanese Americans that fought in WWII and were highly decorated. He gives them credit for being the unit that liberated Dachau and has a touching story of the prisoners there being confused and assuming they were the Japanese army and would kill them.
Army records show the 63rd Infantry Division (not a Nisei unit) as being the unit recognized as the liberating unit by the US Army's Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. On the same day, 29 April 1945, the 522nd Nisei unit liberated a small camp at Lager Lechfeld in Bavaria. This shifting of factual evidence is vexing.

The rest of the book gives excellent descriptions of the settling and success of many of the Japanese immigrants and what they lost in the hysteria after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The laws targeted towards them in the years before the war and the search for remuneration years afterward and the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 are also covered.

The photos and descriptions of the camps themselves along with interviews is excellent, even how the US government t documented conditions in the camps and put pressure on Latin American countries to have intern camps as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Martin Sandler's book is the compelling story of the banishment over 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the United States. Japanese Americans were forced from their homes due to hysteria after the bombing of Perl Harbor. They had no notice and had to leave homes, businesses, pets, and possessions to move into internment camps for the duration of WWII. Sandler uses photographs, interviews, quotes, and sidebars (backed up with extensive research) to tell about this very dark part of American history. Each chapter consists of information with certain pages containing large font (to stand out)and within these chapters sections highlighted areas of importance, like Dorothea Dix and Ansel Adams photography to document the internment, but their differing viewpoints. Another section is Titled, Expressing Feelings Through Poetry and shares examples of children's poems from camp classrooms. Within the camps were the Isei and the Nisei, nurses, doctors, writers, teachers who work hard to end the isolation and depression many felt. Sports, like baseball, became an important way for the Japanese Americans to fight boredom. There were those who created gardens, made jewelry, and found other ways to beautify their substandard lives. The camps were harsh and crowded, hot during the day and very cold at night; there were long waits to for lunch, dinner and laundry of 2-3 hours. There were many Japanese Americans who served in the 442nd Regiment and Nisei who served as interpreters and translators and they had a very profound impact on the US's victory. The chapters on how the Japanese Americans fared after the war and as the years wet on were so interesting. Today the Japanese Americans are working hard to make sure this does not happen to anyone ever again.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Once again, Sandler has written a text for our intermediate/middle grade readers that captures the reader in the grip of a devastating experience – the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. What stood out for me in this book is Sandler’s continual revelation of the irony of this situation and the language he uses to make this irony explicit for students. Let me back up. Japanese Americans faced racism when they came to the states – and yet they figured out how to thrive and be successful economically. There was no evidence in general of espionage or lack of loyalty to the U.S. after Pearl Harbor and yet the decision was still made to intern this group of citizens. They could have languished in terrible living conditions and yet they turned these spaces into livable communities and joined the military and received the highest recognition for their contributions to the war effort (combat, nursing, translators, etc.). And all of this in the face of loss of identity, long-term emotional/psychological scarring, loss of wealth or means of making a living – all of which also occurred.

The beauty of this book is how Sandler’s writing helps our student readers access these themes – perseverance, injustice, irony, courage, the effects/impact of displacement, surmounting obstacles, knowledge versus ignorance, determination, ingenuity, etc. The book is crafted in a way that you see how terrible things are and THEN you see what the Japanese Americans do in response (that reveals perseverance, etc.). Next you see how terrible things continue to happen to them and AGAIN you see what the Japanese Americans do in response and WHAT ELSE THEY DO in response AND what else they do in response. Does this make sense?
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