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Free to Die for Their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II (Chicago Series in Law and Society)by Eric L. Muller
Synopses & Reviews
In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, after stripping them of their livelihoods, liberty, and dignity, the government demanded even more by drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these American citizens grudgingly complied with the draft, but several hundred refused and practiced a different sort of American patriotism-the patriotism of protest.
Free to Die for Their Country is the first book to tell the powerful story of the men who rejected the government's demands. Based on years of research and personal interviews with the resisters, their families, and their supporters and detractors, Eric L. Muller's work recreates the welter of emotions and events that followed the arrival of the draft notices in 1944: the untenable situation of the Japanese American men caught between national loyalty and personal indignation; the hypocrisy of the government in asking men to die for their country when it had denied them their rights as citizens; the shoddy trials of the protesters that produced convictions and imprisonment; and the treatment of the resisters by the Japanese American community, who looked upon them as pariahs who were hindering progress toward assimilation.
Muller looks behind the horrible story of the internment camps to find a tale less well known and even more troubling, illuminating a dark corner of American history during World War II. Affecting and clear eyed, Free to Die for Their Country reveals, in almost cinematic fashion, an untold chapter of our recent past.
Book News Annotation:
Muller (law, U. of N. Carolina, Chapel Hill) is the son of a Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany who escaped to the U.S. and were later subjected to some of the same restrictions as West Coast Japanese Americans during WWII. Knowing about the internment of Japanese Americans, Muller was surprised to learn of the Japanese American draft resisters. Drawing on years of research, interviews with the resisters, their families, their supporters, and their detractors, Muller presents this analysis of the draft resisters' experiences, from the arrival of the draft notices in 1944 to the recent debates in the Japanese American community over the choice these young men made over 50 years ago. Academic, but accessible to the general reader.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
One of the Washington Post's Top Nonfiction Titles of 2001
In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, the government demanded even more, drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these Americans complied, but Free to Die for Their Country is the first book to tell the powerful story of those who refused. Based on years of research and personal interviews, Eric L. Muller re-creates the emotions and events that followed the arrival of those draft notices, revealing a dark and complex chapter of America's history.
About the Author
Eric L. Muller is the Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Table of Contents
1. Untold Patriotism
2. Uneasy Welcome
4. Insult to Injury
6. Jails within Jails
7. A Shock to the Conscience
8. Incarceration Redux
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History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Asian American
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Japanese American
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » World History » General