Book Reading: World War II Alien Internment by John Christgau

  • en
Conference/Presentation

Aug 201028
2:00p.m.

Japanese American National Museum
100 N Central Ave
Los Angeles, California, 90012
United States


They were called aliens and enemies. But the World War II internees John Christgau writes about were in fact ordinary people victimized by the politics of a global war. The Alien Enemy Control Program in America was born with the United States’s declaration of war on Japan, Germany, and Italy and lasted until 1948. In all, 31,275 “enemy aliens” were imprisoned in camps like the one described in this book—Fort Lincoln, just south of Bismarck, North Dakota.

In animated and suspenseful prose, Christgau tells the stories of several individuals whose experiences are representative of those at Fort Lincoln. The subjects’ lives before and after capture—presented in five case studies—tell of encroaching bitterness and sorrow. Christgau based his accounts on voluminous and previously untouched National Archives and FBI documents in addition to letters, diaries, and interviews with his subjects.

Christgau’s afterword for this Bison Books edition relates additional stories of World War II alien restriction, detention, and internment that surfaced after this book was originally published, and he draws parallels between the alien internment of World War II and events in this country since September 11, 2001.

John Christgau is the author of numerous books, including Kokomo Joe (Nebraska 2009), The Gambler and the Bug Boy (Nebraska 2007), and The Origins of the Jump Shot: Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball, available in a Bison Books edition.

 

JANM . Last modified Jul 13, 2010 1:50 p.m.


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