Eavesdropping On The Rising Sun

A young man from Queens jumps into the thick of World War II intelligence activities by translating secret Japanese messages

IN HIS MARVELOUS MEMOIR, Flights of Passage, my friend and onetime colleague Samuel Hynes, a Marine Corps combat aviator in World War II, writes that the war is the shared secret of his generation—those young men who came of age between December 7, 1941, and September 2, 1945. For those of the approximately 12 million Americans in uniform for some or all of those years, it was an experience both personal and collective like nothing before or after. Those who went through the hell of combat carry physical and emotional scars as reminders.Read more »

A Village Disappeared

On the sixtieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the granddaughter of a Japanese detainee recalls the community he lost and the fight he waged in the Supreme Court to win back the right to earn a living

To the casual visitor, terminal island in Los Angeles Harbor is no more than a complex of dull warehouses and empty lots. The waterfront may feature a lonely boat or two and the streets suffer the occasional rumbling tractor trailer, but few people come here, adding to the gloom of this industrial neighborhood. Read more »

When The Laws Were Silent

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, tens of thousands of American citizens were taken from their homes and locked up simply because of their Japanese ancestry. Was their internment a grim necessity or “the worst blow to civil liberty in our history”? The Chief Justice of the United States weighs the reasoning.

The entire nation was stunned by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but it seemed much closer to home on the West Coast than elsewhere on the mainland.

 
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Seattle

The strange saga of a town that bragged, burned, and bullied itself into existence—and then became one of the most civilized places on earth

I’m a newcomer to Puget Sound, but I’ve lived here long enough to know not to brag about Seattle. Blow its horn too loudly, and some joker in New York or, God forbid, San Diego will hear you and move here with his family and tell all his friends about it, and before you know it, everything you love about the place will have vanished in a tidal wave of office buildings, condos, and malls. Read more »