During World War II over 110,000 U.S. citizens and legal residents were incarcerated without charges or trial, not by a hostile enemy nation, but by their own country, the self-proclaimed beacon of liberty and justice.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, coupled with racism and wartime hysteria, generated widespread support for violating the civil rights of Japanese Americans living along the Pacific Coast of the United States. Following government orders, Japanese Americans took what belongings they could carry and were incarcerated in remote, hastily constructed concentration camps. When they emerged from the camps, they faced humiliation, prejudice, and economic ruin.
Karen S. Godwin, Division of Geriatrics, Department of Internal Medicine. The University of North Texas Health Science Center
ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM by Mitchell Maki, Harry Kitano, and Megan Berthold provides an excellent case study of a single instance of public policymaking, the passage of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act. This act provided some compensation for America's decision to place thousands of Japanese Americans into relocation camps. In 241 pages, the authors provide the political, social, and economic history that prevented the recognition and addressing of a historical injustice, and an analysis of why recognition finally occurred. Valuable as a supplementary reference providing a specific example demonstrating a dynamic political process at work using an alternative model for analysis and a historical perspective of the Japanese American society from pre-WWII to the 1990s. Any person with a passionate interest in the movement towards entitlement and redress for Japanese Americans who were excluded or relocated during WWII will find accuracy of historical accounts and a depth of references on the subject.