Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Hitting the shelves
My third book, Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community, is now being shipped by Amazon and other online sellers. It will be hitting the bookstore shelves on June 1.
I'm especially pleased about this, since I've been working on this book since 1992, when I first wrote the newspaper series for the old Bellevue Journal American which gave the book its origins. I first produced a manuscript in 1994, and have been working on refining and improving it over the ensuing years, when I wasn't working on my other books. I interviewed 28 different internees and Bellevue community members over the years, and I conducted a great deal of archival research as well.
As it happens, events have conspired to make the book even more relevant than before. The combination of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the right-wing program to scapegoat Muslim Americans in its wake -- embodied by Michelle Malkin's book In Defense of Internment, which sought to justify "racial profiling" by demonstrating that the mass internment of 1942 was not simply justified but desirable -- have suddenly made the subject very contemporary indeed.
The text, in most regards, was already a standing refutation of Malkin's thesis, especially her claim that racism was not a significant cause of the internment. It describes, in considerable detail, the 40 years of racist agitation against the Japanese that culminated in the internment. However, I have also written an epilogue that discusses this larger context, as well as some specific refutations of Malkin's work.
Here's hoping you all enjoy reading it.