Book Review: Infamy

The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves

Category: Books and Music

infamyThe Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor was the catalyst for more than 120,000 American Japanese being incarcerated during World War II. Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II is the story of this devastating time in American history.


After the horrific events in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 (the day President Franklin Roosevelt called “a day that would live in infamy”) suspicion arose about the threat of people with Japanese heritage living on the mainland – specifically on the west coast. Were these people loyal to the empire of Japan? Were they subversively plotting against the United States? Even though they were American citizens, they were thought of as Japanese and therefore could be working with the empire.


President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the roundup and incarceration of American Japanese and these people were sent to several “evacuation and relocation centers” (internment camps) in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Arkansas. This book is the story of the Japanese as well as the Caucasians who, at the time, had their lives changed due to war, heritage, and fear.


Reading this book it is eye-opening to learn how many of the men in power whom we now think of as heroes, were behind the incarcerations. While the country was reeling from the aftermath of the bombings, many people took out their anger on the local Japanese Americans. Relative calm prevailed until December 23 when the Union Oil tanker the USS Montebello was torpedoed and sank by a Japanese submarine off the coast of California. The Japanese were just off the coast of the mainland and the country was in fear.
On February 19, 1942 the executive order was signed, thereby changing the lives and fate of American citizens of Japanese heritage. “This is a race war,” Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi declared. Quickly the Japanese were rounded up and sent inland away from the coast.


What were the feelings of Americans during this time and what actually happened? This is detailed in the book. And after the war ended and the Japanese Americans were free to resume their lives outside of the camps, many cities did not welcome them back. As a matter of fact, the American Legion post in Hood River, Oregon issued a statement saying, “For your own best interests, we urge you not to return.”


This is a story of those who were on the side of internment as well as those who stood up for the rights of the detainees.


Author Richard Reeves details this time in history. The book is filled with facts and stories from the people of the time; it is an eye-opening look at the personal stories of those who were there. The book is sensitive and forthcoming. It documents an important time in American history. It is an essential document for those who want to learn more about this aspect of World War II. The book is not a quick read, but it is arresting and educational.


Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II

Author: Richard Reeves

ISBN – 13: 9780805094084

Publisher: Henry Hold & Company, Inc.

Hardback Publication April 21, 2015

368 pages


About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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