- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (January 20, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451693664
- ISBN-13: 978-1451693669
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (380 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II Hardcover – January 20, 2015
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2015: By now, most Americans past high school have learned something about the internment of Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1940; until recently a not-much-discussed piece of history—the internment of citizens mostly born on our soil—was, to many, a blight on the human rights record of the Roosevelt administration. But what The Train to Crystal City makes clear is that Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for internment of Japanese Americans, was just one of the questionable human rights decisions the wartime administration made. According to this dramatic, copiously detailed but still very readable account, a camp in Crystal City, Texas housed American-born children of German and Italian descent as well as Japanese, and many of those children were traded for “more ostensibly important Americans – diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, and missionaries” who were stuck behind enemy lines. (The program was dubbed the “quiet passage.”) How did such a thing happen? To find out, author Jan Jarboe Russell looked into government files (surprise: Eleanor Roosevelt did not agree with her husband the president and publicly abhorred internment of “Oriental looking people,” suggesting that it was un-American) and interviewed now-adult survivors who had been in the camp as children, most notably a Japanese-American girl named Sumi and a German American one named Ingrid. Though the two never met, their stories, taken together, celebrate the pluck and resilience on the part of many survivors. They also paint a vivid picture, all too applicable today, of a country beset by wartime fear, bigotry and governmental misguidance. --Sara Nelson
"Mind-boggling...TheTrain to Crystal City combines accounts of terrible sorrow and destructionwith great perseverance…Readers [will] wish these stories weren’t true.” (The New York Times)
“Russell movingly focuses on human stories coming out of one camp that held both Japanese and Germans,outside Crystal City, Tex....Poignant.” (New York Times Book Review)
"Americans—and particularly Texans—should read Jan Jarboe Russell’s The Train to Crystal City... Ultimately, The Train to Crystal City is about identity, allegiance and home, and the difficulty of determining the loyalties that lie in individual human hearts." (Texas Observer)
“Poignant, even shocking…a valuable look at a dark stain on America’s Second World War.” (Newsday)
"In this quietly moving book, Jan Jarboe Russell traces the history of one unusual camp that housed detainees from Japan, Germany, and Italy, along with their families, many of whom were American-born." (Boston Globe)
"There are obvious parallels between Crystal City and today's Guantanamo Bay detention facility and between the anti-immigrant sentiment then and now, but Russell wisely resists the urge to connect the dots. Her story is harrowing enough on its own." (Chicago Tribune)
“A must-read for those interested not just in history, but in human nature….The Train to Crystal City is compelling, thought-provoking and impossible to put down.” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
“Engrossing…Russell documents in chilling details a shocking story of national betrayal.” (Kirkus)
“This is an informative, disturbing, and necessary reminder of the dangers produced by wartime hysteria.” (Booklist)
“Both scholars and generalreaders interested in World War II will agree, this book is a gripping storyfrom start to finish.” (Library Journal)
“Russell pulls no punches describing the cost of war and the conditions internees endured....a powerful piece.” (Publishers Weekly)
“The Train to Crystal City is a story ofheartbreaking dislocation, of lives smashed and ruined, and of almostunbelievable human endurance, resilience, and determination. Jan Jarboe Russellhas written a powerful book that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief.” (―S.C. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author of Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon)
“Jan Jarboe Russell has exposed a corner of American history that few knew existed, one that is at once bitter and transformative. The glory of this book is in the many human details so skillfully sketched, which add another chapter to the unending tally of war.” (Lawrence Wright, author of Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David)
Top Customer Reviews
"The Train to Crystal City" also details a secret prisoner exchange designed and approved by FDR whereby these now former Americans were sent to enemy combatant countries along with their spouses and children, often against their will in exchange for key individuals being held behind enemy lines, including downed airmen and US businessmen. The story details how the US military kidnapped foreign nationals---German-Mexicans or Peruvian-Japanese along with their families, with the aid of their respective governments, who then shipped to the US to be held at potential exchanges in this very same internment camp. In exchange for their support, these governments freely confiscated the businesses, homes, and assets of these individuals. Unable to return home and not wanting to be deported to war torn countries they barely knew, if at all, this is a gripping book. I urge everyone to read it.
It's easy to say "this won't happen again," but I remember more than one person saying to me after 9/11 that "all the Arabs ought to be run out of the country." The WWII camps were built in response to fears that spies from Germany, Japan and Italy could be hiding in the immigrant communities from those Axis nations. In the general panic after Pearl Harbor, putting those immigrants in places where they could be fenced off and watched seemed like a prudent idea. Little thought was given to the suffering involved, as families were uprooted and had their businesses and bank accounts seized.
Russell's exhaustive research brings the reader back to an era that many would like to forget, but it's important that we do not forget it.