Surviving Minidoka

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The 1942 wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans has come to be seen as one of the most massive violations of civil liberties in the history of American law. Racially motivated and fueled by a malicious campaign of misinformation, it forced 120,000 Americans to abandon their property and homes. Most were American citizens.

One of the largest and most remote relocation compounds was Idaho’s Camp Minidoka in Jerome County, near Twin Falls. Its story, tragic yet triumphant, raises enduring questions about racial profiling, military authority and the hysteria of war.

“Surviving Minidoka: The Legacy of WWII Japanese American Incarceration” presents 10 intriguing essays in an elegant hardcover volume of poetry, rare prints, historical photography, and original artwork. Edited by Russell M. Tremayne, historian at the College of Southern Idaho, and Todd Shallat, director of the Center for Idaho History and Politics at Boise State, the 200-page book is the third colorful volume in the Idaho Metropolitan Research Series, published by Boise State University.

“’Surviving Minidoka’ is a history book about the present as much as the past,” said series editor Melissa Lavitt, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs.

“This is not a book about camp life,” said Shallat. “It is an art book and a tribute. It is a book about how about how an event shaped race relations more than a story about the event itself.”