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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

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Once again Dr. Wegars, with her indefatigable research, has rescued a significant episode from Idaho s past. Cort Conley, author of Idaho for the Curious<div></div> (Cort Conley Cort Conley 2013-05-05) --Cort Conley

About the Author

Priscilla Wegars, Ph.D. is an independent historian and historical archaeologist specializing in the history and archaeology of Asian Americahs in the Wet. She has worked on archaeological excavations in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, England, New Zealand, and Belize. Priscilla is the founder and volunteer curator of the Univeristy of Idaho's Asian American Comparative Collection. She edited "Hidden Heritage: Historical Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese" and wrote "Chinese at the Confluence: Lewiston's Beuk Aie Temple. She is working on a biography of Polly Bemis for adult readers and on a history of the Kooskia Internment Camp. Each summer she leads a University of Idaho enrichment class to visit Polly Bemis's cabin and grave. She lives in Moscow, Idaho with her husband, Terry Abraham.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 323 pages
  • Publisher: University of Idaho Press; 1st edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0893015504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0893015503
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,553,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book tells the virtually unknown story of Japanese civilians caught up in the US during World War II. By the 1930s the federal government was keeping track of all Japanese within the US. Within days of the outbreak of the war it had arrested all of them and arranged to incarcerate them along with other Japanese from allied countries as far away as Peru. As citizens of a country at war with the US they had few rights. The issue of immigration clearly resonates with the current situation in the US today. The author includes dozens of previously unpublished photographs, as well as copies of original letters and many other documents, to provide various perspectives, both of the Japanese volunteers in the labor camp and of the Americans who interacted with them. I was really impressed at the amount of detail provided, including the names of all the internees. The photographs document the internees at work, as well as living and relaxing at the only camp like this in the US. The camp only operated for two years and virtually all traces of it are gone so this book provides the only readily available record of this brief chapter in American history. The book is very readable and well organized. I highly recommend it!
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Format: Paperback
Twenty years ago I lived and worked in Central Idaho. One day driving up the Lochsa River, my boss pointed to a side road and said, "There used to be a Japanese internment work camp there during World War II. The Japanese were brought in to build the highway." I have always had an interest in the Japanese internment. On a following trip I took a look to see what might remain, but the buildings were all gone.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gosh, it is always difficult to read about the treatment this country sometimes meted out on some of its citizens. It is even more amazing how some of these same citizens can be so forgiving. This is an amazing book about amazing people I am proud to call fellow Americans. What I didn't know was that Japanese from Mexico and other South American countries were also brought to this country and placed in this camp. An apology was never given to them. Wonder what the hold up is? This book is a good read for everyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative history can hardly wait to finish reading. Would like to visit the site and see the location soon.
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Never knew there was such a camp, although I am of Japanese extraction and was in an internment camp in Wyoming. Interesting book.
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