Books: A Lapse of Democracy

AMERICA'S CONCENTRATION CAMPS by Allan R. Bosworth. 283 pages. Norton. $5.95.

In February 1942, two months after Pearl Harbor, U.S. troops began herding 110,000 West Coast Japanese Americans out of their homes and into internment camps scattered throughout the Western states. The wholesale roundup, ordered by Franklin D. Roosevelt, made a kind of simplistic military sense. After all, the Pacific Coast had been formally—if somewhat hysterically—declared a combat zone. The presence of aliens, all of whom were at least potentially sympathetic to the enemy, seemed to constitute a visible threat to the U.S....

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