Book Description from Back CoverAfter being incarcerated at the Manzanar War Relocation Center for Japanese Americans during World War II, Frank Chuman finished his interrupted law education and became a distinguished lawyer. His life work and community service was spent helping Japanese Americans with their struggle to regain their rightful place in America after the war. Chuman's legal work and writings on civil rights issues brought him to national prominence, which eventually led him to being on the legal team that helped overturn the unjust wartime conviction of Fred Korematsu.
Frank Chuman's career and life has been quite diverse - taking him from head administrator of Manzanar's camp hospital to president of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), from legal counsel for the UCLA Alumni Association to legal advisor to the Consulate General of Japan, from Eagle Scout to bar admission to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Frank Chuman is also the author of Bamboo People: The Law and Japanese Americans, the first book chronicling the long history and immense legal struggles of the people of Japanese ancestry in America.
Comments from Back CoverWhat the late Robert Kirsch of the Los Angeles Times said in his review of Frank Chuman's majestic first book, The Bamboo People: The Law and Japanese-Americans (1976)-that the author did not "pull any punches"-applies in double measure to Manzanar and Beyond. Unlike so many memoirs now flooding the market, this is one that genuinely merited being written and published. Although modest about his many diverse accomplishments, Chuman has fashioned an autobiographical narrative that not only starkly illuminates the Nisei generation's steeply challenging life course, but also serves as a robust embodiment of the saying "You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.
-Arthur A. Hansen
Prof. Emeritus of History & Asian American Studies, CA State University, Fullerton
Seminal! I really enjoyed reading this book, and recommend it highly!
I have always admired Frank Chuman. I have his book Bamboo People on my shelf, and have turned to it many times before a lecture or while I'm writing. Now Manzanar and Beyond reveals Frank's hidden yet pivotal role in the 1980s Redress Movement.
This is the story of an intelligent, hard working, self-effacing Nisei. A U.S. citizen, incarcerated during the war years by his own government, Chuman went from camp, to law school, to a post-war life as a lawyer, author, family man, and dedicated community leader. A model minority? Perhaps. Yet it was none other than Frank Chuman who first articulated that "Writ of Error Coram Nobis" could be a legal key to unlocking Redress for Japanese Americans in the 1980s.
This memoir is an important and highly readable addition to Nisei narratives about their experiences in the United States before, during and after the World War II. The story is told with no bitterness and occasional humor. It is a story of personal resilience. It also is the story of those Americans who refused to be intimidated by anti-Japanese sentiment pervasive in some parts of this country and who treated Japanese Americans with respect and kindness.
Additional CommentFrank Chuman is not simply a writer of Japanese American History; he IS Japanese American history. As his upfront and readable memoir shows, for nearly a century he has been present as a witness and participant in the life of the Nisei. Whether it is growing up on the West Coast and experiencing the discrimination against young Americans of Asian ancestry, or being confined without trial in a camp by the US government during World War II, or working after the war as a constitutional lawyer and winning equal rights for minorities threatened with injustice, Frank Chuman has worked to make a difference for people. His story reminds us of the trials and the potentials involved in building a better America.
- Greg Robinson
Associate Professor of History at Université du Québec À Montréal and
Author of By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans and A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America
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Most recent revision June 9, 2011