Sam Mihara was at the movies when the news broke: Japanese forces had bombed Pearl Harbor, leaving U.S. servicemen dead. After that day in December 1941, his world was never the same. No more John Wayne or Walt Disney; now, his life stacked up to buses and trains with armed guards for personal escorts as he paid the price for a crime he never committed. Because he was Japanese, he and his family were sentenced to mass imprisonment in a desolate Wyoming camp called Heart Mountain. And in the midst of World War II, the fact that he and his brother were kids and American citizens didn’t matter.
In a new book, The Life and Times of Sam Mihara, the Paul A. Gagnon Prize winner shares his harrowing experiences with Japanese incarceration — and how he overcame a childhood fraught with adversity to become the man he is today. The text includes an appendix that outlines the most important events that marked the plight of Japanese Americans during the war, and that altered the course of American history forever.
In the newly published 2nd edition of the book, Blindsided, The Life and Times of Sam Mihara, Sam reveals more details. The additions include life before entering the prison camps, life in the first camp called “Pomona”. Also, an event at Pomona is described where his mother was almost shot. Details of daily life in the Wyoming prison camp are revealed. While in prison, Sam tells of how he was inspired to become an engineer. And he describes how he discovered important photos of the imprisonment by photographer Dorothea Lange.