- Paperback: 391 pages
- Publisher: Athena Pr; 1st edition (July 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0960273611
- ISBN-13: 978-0960273614
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Magic: The Untold Story of U.S. Intelligence and the Evacuation of Japanese Residents from the West Coast During Ww II 1st Edition
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The fact that the CWRIC heard testimony on but did not read or even address the Magic intercepts in an indictment to the very integrity of the CWRIC. Magic was the main evidentiary basis behind Executive Order 9066, and every individual who (at the time) had read the intercepts supported the order.
Mr. Lowman did make himself available for the Honolulu hearings, he was not asked (or allowed - as some cynics might suggest) to testify. And given the reception he most likely would have received, it's probably just as well.
And it should be mentioned that during his testimony before the Japanese/American Relocation Commission Hearing on June 21, 1984 John McCloy did mention Magic, "Proof that the Commission did not conduct an investigation worthy of the name is demonstrated by the fact that it never identified the existence of "Magic" as evidence of Japanese intent to subvert the security of the country through disloyal residence here in the event of an attack by Japan."
Mr. McCloy then goes on to describe the hostile ("boos and catcalls") heaped upon any who dared to present the President's case.
I found Mr. Lowman's style just fine, he let's the evidence speak for itself. And the evidence paints a much different picture than you get from the CWRIC white wash.
In 1980 Congress established the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to investigate the World War II incident. In 1983 the Commission's findings were presented to Congress without any reference to MAGIC and its relationship to the evacuation.
Unfortunately Mr. Lowman's book should only be read to get more information and details about the MAGIC intelligent project. The notion that the MAGIC code was the reason why the West Coast Japanese Community was detained is refuted in a well-written and researched article by John Herzig ("Japanese Americans and MAGIC" from the AMERASIA Journal, Fall/Winter 1984 issue, pages 47-65). Mr. Herzig is a retired lieutenant colonel who served as a counterintelligence officer for the U.S. Department of the Army in Japan and Europe.
Here are some of the inaccuracies that Mr. Herzig point out in Mr. Lowman's book:
* Statement before CWRIC by former government officials, who in 1942 were responsible for creating and implementing the Japanese-American exclusion and incarceration program, indicate that the MAGIC intercepts did NOT play a role in the government's decision to take the drastic action that it did against this minority group.
* Testimony by current representatives of the Department of Army, Navy, State, and Justice shows that there was NO evidence of espionage, sabotage, sedition, fifth column activities, other subversive acts on the part of Japanese Americans, and that NO such information appeared in MAGIC intercepts, in finished intelligence or counterintelligence reports.
And there is one other IMPORTANT fact that Mr. Lowman did not bother to mention:
Interned Japanese Americans did volunteer to serve in the Japanese-American 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442d Regimental Combat Team during World War II. For example if you read the book Go For Broke (written by Chester Tanaka), it tells about the bravery of the Japanese-American 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442d Regimental Combat Team during World War II. They were the MOST decorated unit in the United States Army; at least 680 of them were killed in action fighting the Germans.
The 100th Infantry Battalion fought in North Africa and Italy, joining the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in June 1944. They fought in Italy, France, Germany; rescued the "Lost Battalion," and their 522nd Field Artillery Battalion; and liberated the survivors at the Dachau death camp.
Of the 10,000 volunteers for the all-American combat unit, 1200 came from mainland U.S. concentration camps and the rest from Hawaii, where Executive Order 9066 to intern the West Coast Japanese-American community did not apply.
It is possible that Mr. Lowman was not aware that interned Japanese-American men actually served in combat and fought against the Germans. Or maybe the other sad possibility is that Mr. Lowman was worried that this fact of American-Japanese bravery would undermine or cast doubt on the author's assertion that because of the MAGIC intelligence there were suppose to be valid U.S. military and security concerns to intern Japanese-Americans.
So if the interned Japanese-Americans were considered to be untrustworthy and disloyal as according to the MAGIC information, and the U.S. Army was well aware about MAGIC, then would it be LOGICAL for the United States Army to let 1,200 Japanese-American men from INTERNMENT CAMPS join their ranks, equipped them with weapons (rifles, machine guns, bazookas, grenades & etc.) and then send them to Italy and Western Europe to fight against the Germans?
If Japanese-Americans (especially those interned in detention camps) were suppose to be considered a threat to U.S. national security, then why would you let any of them become combat soldiers? Mr. Herzig points out in his article that even Mr. Lowman admitted in his book that the MAGIC decoded messages did not contain the names of any Japanese-Americans, so how would the U.S. Army know if these Japanese-Americans should be allowed to serve in the U.S. armed forces if there is no sure way to verify if they can be trusted or not?
So if there was no way to verify or checked the loyalty of the Japanese-Americans armed soldiers, then why would the U.S Army send them (armed with weapons) to Italy and Western Europe, where there is a possibilty they could turned on their fellow Americans soldiers and commit espionage, sabotage, or (heaven forbid) maybe they could even desert the U.S. Army and join the German Army! It would have been a lot easier if U.S. Army simply did not allow any Japanese-Americans to become combat soldiers!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
David Lowman (d. 1999) was the National Security Agency executive responsible for the declassification of the MAGIC intercepts and the...Read more