ARC (Advance Reading Copy). To be published August 27, 2013. Walker Books for Young Readers (Bloomsbury). 176 pp. (Includes “Table of Contents,” “Further Reading and Surfing,” “Sources,” “Photo Credits” and “Index.”)
Any book by nonfiction author Martin W. Sandler is going to be good, and this was no exception. “Imprisoned” is very well researched, including period photography as well as interviews with first, second and third generation detainees. I was quite surprised to find out that for more than 30 years many Americans did not know of Executive Order 1066, which allowed for the imprisonment of over 200,000 Japanese Americans (almost all American citizens), brought about by prejudice, fear and hysteria after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Even photographs by noted photographer Dorothea Lange, which showed the degree of their suffering, were purposely confiscated by the United States government and buried in the National Archives for over 50 years. They weren’t discovered, and their truths revealed, until 2006.
It was very sobering to read about the extreme prejudice Japanese Americans suffered even before 1944, and how Executive Order 1066 erased their hopes, dreams and property as young and old were herded off to prison camps, forced to live in stables and in squalid conditions. Reading about the horrible conditions of the Removal Centers, seeing what they went through for the 3 years of their imprisonment, and how strongly they held to their faith and values in themselves as Americans were also eye openers.
Readers aged 12 and up will learn much from Sandler’s latest release. All middle, high school and public libraries should have a copy of “Imprisoned” on their shelves.