In the early months of 1942, the United States government assembled and shipped off to concentration camps 112,000 men, women, and children -- the entire Japanese-American population of the three Pacific Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington. This book is an attempt to tell their story. It is the story of a national calamity commonly referred to as 'our worst wartime mistake.' This tendency to write off the evacuation as a 'mistake'
is to obscure its true significance. The legal atrocity which was committed against the Japanese-Americans was the logical outgrowth of over three centuries of American experience which taught Americans to regard the United States as a white man's country, in which nonwhites 'had no rights which the white man was bound to respect' (Dred Scott decision). Although it affected only a tiny segment of our population, it reflected one of the central themes of American history -- the theme of white