Uprooted by Albert Marrin

Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin. October 25, 2016. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 256 p. ISBN: 9780553509366.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

On the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor comes a harrowing and enlightening look at the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II— from National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin

Just seventy-five years ago, the American government did something that most would consider unthinkable today: it rounded up over 100,000 of its own citizens based on nothing more than their ancestry and, suspicious of their loyalty, kept them in concentration camps for the better part of four years.

How could this have happened? Uprooted takes a close look at the history of racism in America and carefully follows the treacherous path that led one of our nation’s most beloved presidents to make this decision. Meanwhile, it also illuminates the history of Japan and its own struggles with racism and xenophobia, which led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, ultimately tying the two countries together.

Today, America is still filled with racial tension, and personal liberty in wartime is as relevant a topic as ever. Moving and impactful, National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin’s sobering exploration of this monumental injustice shines as bright a light on current events as it does on the past

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Racial taunts; Harsh reality of prisoner treatment

 

Reviews

Horn Book Magazine (January/February, 2017)
Marrin (FDR and the American Crisis, rev. 1/15) wanders far afield from the book’s subtitle in order to place his subject in a comprehensively broad context; readers wanting a narrower focus may opt for Imprisoned by Martin Sandler (rev. 7/13). Marrin’s narrative opens briefly with a prologue set on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but then he backtracks for several chapters, delivering a crash course in Japanese history with a special focus on racism. By the late nineteenth century, Japanese Americans had arrived in the United States, a country with its own troubled legacy. Despite the hard work and industry of the first several generations, racial problems persisted well into the twentieth century, ultimately paving the way for Executive Order 9066 and the forcible relocation and internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. Despite this ignominious treatment, Japanese American soldiers distinguished themselves in both the Pacific and European theaters of war. Though the internment camps closed at the end of the war, hastened by a Supreme Court ruling, it was years before the internees received an official apology, reparations, and memorials. A final chapter draws a connection to the treatment of Muslim Americans in the aftermath of twenty-first-century terrorist attacks and discusses the uneasy tension between liberty and security during wartime. Generous quotations and photographs are integrated throughout the text, providing the immediacy that comes with primary sources. Source notes, a bibliography, and an index are appended. Jonathan Hunt

Publishers Weekly (September 5, 2016)
With masterful command of his subject and a clear, conversational style, Marrin (FDR and the American Crisis) lays bare the suffering inflicted upon Japanese Americans by the U.S. during WWII. Marrin delves into cultural, political, and economic strains leading up to Pearl Harbor, documenting extensive racist beliefs on both sides of the Pacific. Perceived as unacceptable security risks after the attack, Japanese immigrants living on the West Coast (issei) and their children (nisei), U.S. citizens by birth, were sent to desolate relocation centers. Only nisei trained by the military as linguists or who served in two segregated Army units in Europe were spared the humiliation of prisonlike confinement. Marrin admirably balances the heroism and loyalty of both groups with the hostile reception they received after the war and the legal battles of the few nisei who resisted; their convictions were only overturned in the 1980s. A prologue and final chapter questioning whether national security can justify the limiting of individual liberties, during wartime or as a response to terrorism, bookend this engrossing and hopeful account. Archival photos and artwork, extensive source notes, and reading suggestions are included. Ages 12-up.

About the Author

Albert Marrin is an award winning author of over 40 books for young adults and young readers and four books of scholarship. These writings were motivated by the fact that as a teacher, first in a junior high school in New York City for nine years and then as professor of history and chairman of the history department at Yeshiva University until he retired to become a full time writer, his paramount interest has always been to make history come alive and accessible for young people.

Winner of the 2008 National Endowment for Humanities Medal for his work, which was presented at the White House, was given “for opening young minds to the glorious pageant of history. His books have made the lessons of the past come alive with rich detail and energy for a new generation.”

His website is www.albertmarrin.com.

Teacher Resources

Japanese Internment Camps: A Day in the Life Lesson Plan

Japanese Internment Lesson Plan

Japanese-American Internment and the US Constitution Lesson Plan

Around the Web

Uprooted on Amazon

Uprooted on JLG

Uprooted on Goodreads

 

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