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Review of When Can We Go Back to America?

When Can We Go Back To America? By Susan H. Kamei (Image from

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, over 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese citizens living legally in the United States were forced into interment camps.  Between prejudice and fears that the Japanese would infiltrate America, it was decided to intern residents for the long term.   

Susan H. Kamei’s book When Can We Go Back to America, digs deep into this terrible time and the lasting impact it had on Japanese Americans once released from the camps.

 For instance, some young adults who went to high school in the camps and graduated often found it difficult to get into a college or university because their diploma was not recognized as coming from an accredited school. In other instances, when families tried to regain their farms, homes, businesses and more, they could not because either the people they mistakenly trusted to care for them refused to let them go, or they had been sold to others.   

There were exceptions to this. Some young adults did get help from associations like the YMCA and the Quakers to complete college or university enrollment. And there were families who did get their farm, home or business back from the people they trusted in their care.

This is just some of what Japanese Americans faced. There is much more that Kamei writes about in her book.  She also quotes over a hundred Japanese Americans and later in the book writes half to two-page biographies on each of them. All together brings back to life an era many may not have heard about.   If you are interested in Civil Rights, like me, I would highly recommend you pick up this book and either listen to it or read it.  

Review of When Can We Go Back to America? by Susan H. Kamei
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