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Twice Orphaned
Voices from the Children's Village of Manzanar
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Twice Orphaned
Voices from the Children's Village of Manzanar

By Catherine Irwin
Preface by Paul Spickard
2008, 300 pages, Paperback.

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Book Description from the Front Cover Flap

The wartime Japanese American story has usually been told as a family story. In 1942, the United States Army removed more than 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry from their homes along the Pacific Coast. In Twice Orphaned, Catherine Irwin brings to life a little-known and long-neglected group within the inmate population: children who were interned without families. It is a compelling story and an important one, vividly told.

Nearly a hundred orphaned Japanese American children lived in three coastal California institutions. Many of them were children whose parents had died or were unable to care for them. A significant minority were mixed-race children whose Japanese families did not want them. All of these children were interned at Manzanar where they entered a special part of the camp set aside as Children's Village.

This book tells their story: what their lives were like before the war, how it felt to lose their parents, and how they related to other children. Then it takes them into the camp at Manzanar, describes their everyday lives and probes the double abandonment they experienced, first by their parents and then by their country. Subsequent chapters bring their lives full circle, through the end of the war and camp closure.

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Background on Catherine Irwin and Paul Spickard

Catherine Irwin is an assistant professor of English in the Modern Languages Department at the University of La Verne. She received her B.A. in English from U.C. Berkeley and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern California. She has taught courses in Asian American Studies, American Cultures, and Writing at various universities in southern California. A native of Los Angeles, she currently lives with her family in Claremont, California.

Paul Spickard, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has spent most of his life immersed in racial populations and cultural traditions that are different from his own. He grew up in and around Chinatown in Seattle, Washington, in the 1950s and '60s but went to college on the East Coast. He has written about many different peoples, from religious minorities in China to African Americans in the 1940s to Japanese Americans to Pacific Islanders to multiracial people.

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