Wherever I Go I'll Always Be a Loyal American is the story of how the Seattle public schools responded to the news of its Japanese American (Nisei) students' internment upon the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 14, 1942. Drawing upon previously untapped letters and compositions written by the students themselves during the time in which the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the internment order took place, Pak explores how the schools and their students attempted to cope with evident contradiction and dissonance in democracy and citizenship. Emerging from the school district's tradition of emphasizing equality of all races and the government's forced evacuation orders based on racial exclusion, this dissonance became real and lived experience for Nisei school children, whose cognitive dissonance is best revealed in poignant phrases like "I am and will always be an American citizen."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is great historical study of the affects Internment Camps had on Japanese youths. The book uses a combination of approaches including thorough historical archival work, complemented with more recent oral interviews with survivors, to retell the circumstances Japanese children faced and experienced prior to and after Pearl Harbor. The book also provides a the reader with a detailed history of education of Japanese students in Seattle, Washington.
The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry is almost impossible to comprehend without literary work such as this. The focus is on the students, teachers and administrators of public schools in the international district of Seattle. The first hand written emotions of the students are a glimpse into the fear, desperation and isolations facing these young people. When bigotry and fear get packaged into government policy, there is little decent people can do except go along. The people that knew the Japanese Americans best saw the pain and fought the hardest against the tragic policy.
I can't help the temptation to compare the quality and depth of the research of this book to the present day right wing fear mongering of sloppy research, repetition of old unsubstantiated rumors and convoluted illogical conclusions of Michelle Malkin in her writing on the subject.
Written for a college class, but about a subject I am very interested about. I enjoyed it, even if it did make me cry, esp. the girl who wrote the title quote.
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