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Strawberry Days

How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community

David A. Neiwert

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

Strawberry Days tells the vivid and moving tale of the creation and destruction of a Japanese immigrant community. Before World War II, Bellevue, the now-booming "edge city" on the outskirts of Seattle, was a prosperous farm town renowned for its strawberries. Many of its farmers were recent Japanese immigrants who, despite being rejected by white society, were able to make a living cultivating the rich soil. Yet the lives they created for themselves through years of hard work vanished almost instantly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. David Neiwert combines compelling story-telling with first-hand interviews and newly uncovered documents to weave together the history of this community and the racist schemes that prevented the immigrants from reclaiming their land after the war. Ultimately, Strawberry Days represents more than one community's story, reminding us that bigotry's roots are deeply entwined in the very fiber of American society.

REVIEWS

Praise for Strawberry Days

"Strawberry Days takes an atypical tack...Neiwert's research into Freeman's role in the Japanese expulsion expands our knowledge of this Eastside 'founding father.' That plus an epilogue in which the author eviscerates modern revisionists who would defend the internment and disupute racism as one of causes, are, by themselves, worth the price of this book."--Seattle Weekly

"In the shadow of nearby Microsoft, Boeing and Nintendo of America, Neiwert conjures the ghosts of Japanese American family farms that walk these former fields of Strawberry Days."--David Mas Masumoto, author, Letters to the Valley and Epitaph for a Peach

"With grace and attention to detail, Neiwert mixes personal histories with contemporary documents to tell the poignant story of the Japanese immigrants who built a community on inhospitable soil, saw their farms and families grow, and then were stripped from the land by a climactic act of official injustice. Strawberry Days serves as a telling reminder of the human costs of the wartime removal of Japanese Americans, and a continuing lesson for our own times."--Greg Robinson, author, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans
"David Neiwert's "Strawberry Days" brings the reader face to face with real people and a real community whose lives were shattered by American racism and wartime hysteria. It reminds us that the internment was not just the oppression of a huge ethnic group. It was the oppression of real human beings and their vibrant communities."--Eric Muller, author, Free to Die for their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II

"Neiwert makes a case against internment then, and racial profiling now, arguing that an innocent group of people were victimized by racism and scapegoating in response to the sneak attack. He has a spare and direct style of writing that does not go for the easy emotional buttons, allowing the story unfold in its own quiet manner. But the book is more than bygone history and it deserves a wide readership, especially post-September 11. America's response in 1941 to a racially different group of citizens, has echoes in policing Muslim communities in Detroit, Abu Ghraib prison, the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay. It is important to consider the past, and not repeat its mistakes. [A] thoughtful contribution to that discussion."--Tom Carter, Washington Times

"An insightful, well-reasoned analysis of why the internment happened and what its ramifications are."--Kevin Wood, Daily Yomiuri Online


"Strawberry Days takes an atypical tack...Neiwert's research into Freeman's role in the Japanese expulsion expands our knowledge of this Eastside 'founding father.' That plus an epilogue in which the author eviscerates modern revisionists who would defend the internment and disupute racism as one of causes, are, by themselves, worth the price of this book."--Seattle Weekly

"In the shadow of nearby Microsoft, Boeing and Nintendo of America, Neiwert conjures the ghosts of Japanese American family farms that walk these former fields of Strawberry Days."--David Mas Masumoto, author, Letters to the Valley and Epitaph for a Peach

"With grace and attention to detail, Neiwert mixes personal histories with contemporary documents to tell the poignant story of the Japanese immigrants who built a community on inhospitable soil, saw their farms and families grow, and then were stripped from the land by a climactic act of official injustice. Strawberry Days serves as a telling reminder of the human costs of the wartime removal of Japanese Americans, and a continuing lesson for our own times."--Greg Robinson, author, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans
"David Neiwert's "Strawberry Days" brings the reader face to face with real people and a real community whose lives were shattered by American racism and wartime hysteria. It reminds us that the internment was not just the oppression of a huge ethnic group. It was the oppression of real human beings and their vibrant communities."--Eric Muller, author, Free to Die for their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II

"Neiwert makes a case against internment then, and racial profiling now, arguing that an innocent group of people were victimized by racism and scapegoating in response to the sneak attack. He has a spare and direct style of writing that does not go for the easy emotional buttons, allowing the story unfold in its own quiet manner. But the book is more than bygone history and it deserves a wide readership, especially post-September 11. America's response in 1941 to a racially different group of citizens, has echoes in policing Muslim communities in Detroit, Abu Ghraib prison, the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay. It is important to consider the past, and not repeat its mistakes. [A] thoughtful contribution to that discussion."--Tom Carter, Washington Times

"An insightful, well-reasoned analysis of why the internment happened and what its ramifications are."--Kevin Wood, Daily Yomiuri Online


Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • David A. Neiwert

  • David A. Neiwert, an award-winning journalist, is the author of Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crimes in America and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Seattle.
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    Strawberry Days

    How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community

    David A. Neiwert

    • Hardcover

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