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Schools Behind Barbed Wire: The Untold Story of Wartime Internment and the Children of Arrested Enemy Aliens

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Often overlooked in the infamous history of U.S. internment during World War II is the plight of internee children. Drawn from personal interviews and multiple primary source materials, Schools behind Barbed Wire is the first book to uncover this unique chapter in American history. Previous to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the children of German and Japanese nationals took t Often overlooked in the infamous history of U.S. internment during World War II is the plight of internee children. Drawn from personal interviews and multiple primary source materials, Schools behind Barbed Wire is the first book to uncover this unique chapter in American history. Previous to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the children of German and Japanese nationals took their "Americanness" for granted. Many were citizens, born on American soil. Many had worn Boy Scout uniforms, pledged allegiance to the flag, and even collected tin foil in order to do their "bit" for the war effort. But all this changed with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Without warning their American identity was suspect and on the basis of their parents' nationality, they too were treated as enemies of the state and shipped off to remote internment camps such as the one located in Crystal City, TX. Schools behind Barbed Wire is the story of the boys and girls who grew up in the Crystal City internment camp and spent the war years attending one of its three internment camp schools. These children attended regular classes in math and English, joined clubs, and tried to go about "normal" life in the most extraordinary of circumstances. For many, their wartime experiences were often the defining moments of their lives. Professor Karen L. Riley has meticulously recorded the struggles these children faced everyday in her new book Schools behind Barbed Wire. No account of World War II would be complete without the wartime stories of these children.


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Often overlooked in the infamous history of U.S. internment during World War II is the plight of internee children. Drawn from personal interviews and multiple primary source materials, Schools behind Barbed Wire is the first book to uncover this unique chapter in American history. Previous to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the children of German and Japanese nationals took t Often overlooked in the infamous history of U.S. internment during World War II is the plight of internee children. Drawn from personal interviews and multiple primary source materials, Schools behind Barbed Wire is the first book to uncover this unique chapter in American history. Previous to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the children of German and Japanese nationals took their "Americanness" for granted. Many were citizens, born on American soil. Many had worn Boy Scout uniforms, pledged allegiance to the flag, and even collected tin foil in order to do their "bit" for the war effort. But all this changed with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Without warning their American identity was suspect and on the basis of their parents' nationality, they too were treated as enemies of the state and shipped off to remote internment camps such as the one located in Crystal City, TX. Schools behind Barbed Wire is the story of the boys and girls who grew up in the Crystal City internment camp and spent the war years attending one of its three internment camp schools. These children attended regular classes in math and English, joined clubs, and tried to go about "normal" life in the most extraordinary of circumstances. For many, their wartime experiences were often the defining moments of their lives. Professor Karen L. Riley has meticulously recorded the struggles these children faced everyday in her new book Schools behind Barbed Wire. No account of World War II would be complete without the wartime stories of these children.

3 review for Schools Behind Barbed Wire: The Untold Story of Wartime Internment and the Children of Arrested Enemy Aliens

  1. 4 out of 5

    Therese Wiese

    I am interested in the whole internment thing from WWII, so this book was of interest to me. On the positive side, let me first say I learned a whole lot. I had only known of the Japanese that were interned, and this was very informative about the Germans also interned. Specifically, I was really interested to learn about the difference between the families that were actually arrested versus the "civilian enemy aliens". My two problems with book? First, there were SO many footnotes. The book was I am interested in the whole internment thing from WWII, so this book was of interest to me. On the positive side, let me first say I learned a whole lot. I had only known of the Japanese that were interned, and this was very informative about the Germans also interned. Specifically, I was really interested to learn about the difference between the families that were actually arrested versus the "civilian enemy aliens". My two problems with book? First, there were SO many footnotes. The book was not very long. Hard to believe the author could not have incorporated most of those long footnote dialogs into the book in a more substantive way. Second, the author made a comment that some of the interned families thought this was one of the best periods of their lives (I am paraphrasing). Really? I doubt that. In spite of all that - if this is a topic that interests you, this will book will provide a lot of good information.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve Spencer (he, him.his)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amie's Book Reviews

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