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What happened before WWII
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Learning Value
There have been a number of books about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Fictional titles include Denenberg's The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559 Mirror Lake Internment Camp (1999), Garrigue's The Eternal Spring of Mr. Ito (1985), Houston's Farewell to Manazar (1974), Kadohata's Weedflower (2006), and Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine (2002). For nonfiction titles, there are Sandler's Imprisoned, Sakurai's Japanese American Internment Camps, and Takei's graphic novel style memoir, They Called Us Enemy. Although this cover looks like one on a graphic novel, this book is a deep dive into the systemic racism that Asian immigrants faced from the middle of the 1800s until World War II, and how that racism allowed the Japanese internment to occur.

While Goldstone is not of Asian descent, he is an expert in constitutional law and has done a great deal of research, Days of Infamy is a well constructed and sympathetic look at the history of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans. Starting with the Gold Rush of 1948, he looks at the various people who came to the US from Asian countries, and how they were treated, especially by the laws. My biggest takeaway is that for many, many years, the constitution was interpreted as pertaining only to white males. Not only that, but even after people pointed out that the term "white" has no clear meaning, people in power chose to define the term in whatever way suited their purposes.
Good Points
Historic event after historic event shows how Asian immigrants were mistreated, even while popular opinion embraced aspects of the culture, shown by events such as the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in 1915. Immigration policies were in place that made it difficult for people, especially women, to come into the country, and other policies made it nearly impossible for people to own land, even if they were born in the US. It was even debated whether or not people who were born in the US to parents who were not citizens were citizens themselves, even when the language was fairly clear. It seems that it is always possible for people to interpret laws in ways that suit their own purposes!

Accompanied by vintage photographs, newspaper articles, and other documents, Days of Infamy paints a clear picture of how the government spent years interpreting laws in ways that made it very easy for President Roosevelt to authorize Executive Order 9066 with little or no opposition. It is an important cautionary tale for a time when it is all to easy to forget the past, during a time when it would be all to easy to repeat it.
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