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The Unknown Internment: An Oral History of…

The Unknown Internment: An Oral History of the Relocation of Italian… (1990)

by Stephen R. Fox

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1311,081,432 (5)None
There was a government program to relocate Italian Americans in California--a program briefly implemented, quickly rescinded, and largely forgotten.



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Although almost irrevocably marred by historical revisionism, this is still an excellent document of the ill treatment of Italian-Americans during the WWII period in California. Making out General DeWitt as a paranoid xenophobe and America in need of scapegoats this book gives oral histories from the people forced to relocate for a time from certain security sensitive zones along the California coast.
The Italians became super-patriots once the war commenced as former family ties and allegiances were put aside to defend America from foreign enemies like Mussolini and the fascists. Wars are never good except for maybe arms dealers and black marketers. They are horrendous to peace loving people caught up in forces larger than themselves. War is a necessary evil and only to be tolerated as a defense against unjust aggression. The pain and suffering WWII inflicted on the Italian-Americans was considerable within the US. Many non US citizens of Italian descent were sent for approximately a year to cities like Salinas, and Eureka, This included families who as noncitizen parents had multiple sons currently serving in the armed forces of the US.
Historical revisionism is when an author takes an actual historical situation from the past and applies present day values and modern methods of critique to make a judgement upon the past which is wholly alien to the people living at the time. All criticism has to adopt some critieria for judgement but revisionism often uses subjective values and a naive lack of selfcriticism to come to its conclusions. This book is in my opinion required reading for those lucky enough to have been born in California. This episode is linked to the Japanese experience of their own internment as US government classified enemy aliens. I had not heard of this action taken during the Second World War, but then again the Japanese-Americans rarely speak of their wartime experience either. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Jun 23, 2018 |
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