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Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp (Asian American Comparative Collection Research Reports) Paperback – January 1, 2010
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I have never forgotten his words and my own curiosity. So when I learned that Priscilla Wegars had researched and published a book on the camp, I sought it out and bought a copy. Wegars obviously spent years researching the book. Her references are well documented. The book is organized in 10 chapters which provide the historical/political context for the internment camp as well as what camp life was like for both staff and internees.
The Japanese in the camp were all "aliens"-- not U.S. citizens. Most if not all were arrested based on trumped up charges, were never given a fair trial, and ended up incarcerated for the duration of the war. The camp also had a number of Japanese that were kidnapped from Chile, Panama, and Mexico. The camp was the only work camp in the U.S.-- all the other camps served the sole purpose of incarceration.
This book brought to life the otherwise non-descript location beside the road. The patience and perserverance of the Japanese. Their appreciation to be able to work and live in a beautiful place despite their circumstance. The requirements of the Geneva Convention and the struggle to ensure those standards in the camp. The reaction of the local and regional populace to the camp, ending with a desire to to retain the Japanese in order to complete the highway construction. With over 100 illustrations, Imprisoned in Paradise is an interesting and worthwhile read. Thank you Priscilla Wegars for reclaiming this piece of history.