Whispered Silences by Gary Y. Okihiro
Japanese Americans and World War II

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Synopsis

Whispered Silences presents memories and images of the American detention camps to which 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, were sent during World War II. Haunted by a visit to one of the detention camps, fine-arts photographer Joan Myers embarked on an odyssey to record all ten of the camps where Japanese Americans were held, from the deserts of California and the Southwest to the swamps of Arkansas. The result is a series of evocative black-and-white photographs of the camps as they appear today and of items left behind in them - barracks steps, guard tower footings, cemeteries, dried up ponds and rock work from abandoned gardens, children's toys. Historian Gary Okihiro tells the story of the camps almost exclusively from the reminiscences of former internees, giving voice to the photographs' stark images. His essay extends to the earliest days of japanese settlement in America, interweaving historical background, personal accounts, and his own family's experience, moving between Japan, Hawaii, and the mainland United States. Whispered Silences relates a very personal and informal history of Japanese Americans and World War II. It compels us to feel the trauma of the wartime detention, which disrupted and ruined so many lives.
 

About Gary Y. Okihiro

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Gary Y. Okihiro is the author of Whispered Silences: Japanese Americans and World War II and Common Ground: Reimagining American History. He is a professor at Columbia University and lives in New York City. JOAN MYERS turned to photography during the early 1970s as her life's work. Her photographs have appeared in more than fifty solo and eighty group exhibitions throughout the United States, and they are included in the permanent collections of the Amon Carter Museum, Biblioth que Nationale de France, Center for Creative Photography, Denver Art Museum, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography, High Museum of Art, Minneapolis Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Modern Art, Nevada Museum of Art, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. Her books include "Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey" (Smithsonian Books, 2006), which won an Honorable Mention from the American Association of Museum's 2006 Publications Competition, Pie Town Woman (New Mexico, 2001), which was the Best Illustrated Book for 2001 from Publishers Association of the West "Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California", with William deBuys (New Mexico, 1999), which won both the 1999 Western States Book Award for Nonfiction and the 1999 William P. Clements Prize for the Best Nonfiction Book on Southwestern America, "Whispered Silences: Japanese Americans and World War II" (Washington, 1996), which earned the Rocky Mountain Booksellers Award and an Honorable Mention from Maine Photographic Workshops, "Santiago: Saint of Two Worlds" (New Mexico, 1991), and "Along the Santa Fe Trail" (New Mexico, 1986).
 
Published June 1, 1996 by Univ of Washington Pr. 249 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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