Masayo Duus begins her story with the formation of the Japanese American units, which were an outgrowth of America's ambivalent attitude toward the entire Japanese American community at the outbreak of the war. She recounts their experiences in training and during the early battles in Italy, including the conflicts between Japanese American and Caucasian troops. The final part of the story focuses on the battle in the Vosges forest, where the 442nd fought fiercely to rescue the "lost battalion" of Texans hopelessly cut off by the enemy.
Based on extensive research in War Department archives and nearly three hundred interviews with veterans of the 100th and 442nd, Unlikely Liberators first appeared in serialized form in Japan, where it won the Bungeishunjusha Reader's Prize. It is an absorbing and personalized account of young men suddenly separated from their families and friends, often confused and sometimes suspicious about what the army wanted from them. It portrays them as individuals confronting the multiple crises of war and social rejection and it shows that their greatest achievement was not their victory over a foreign enemy, but over prejudice at home. This book is a tribute to those men, who by their heroism reestablished for all Japanese Americans their personal dignity as full citizens in the country of their birth.
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 426 g
Dimensions: 220 x 148 x 20 mm
"The author's descriptions of the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team's combat operations are gripping and personal, enabling the reader to envision and understand the hardships and horrors experienced by the Japanese-American infantrymen."
"The Japanese-American soldiers not only won a victory over the enemy abroad but over prejudice and injustice at home. President Harry S. Truman himself said as much. Masayo Duus has written a book that is truly remarkable, not because it so effectively affirms this lesson once more, but because she manages to tell so much more. After extensive research and interviews, she tells her tale through the voices of many: generals, privates, mothers, sons, Germans, French, issei, nisei, draftees, volunteers, kotonks, and buddhaheads."