A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States

Gordon Hirabayashi, James Hirabayashi, and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi. Univ. of Washington, $29.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-2959-9270-9
“What good are principles if we suspend them each time there is a crisis?” asks Hirabayashi, at an appeal hearing over 40 years after his imprisonment for opposing the relocation of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Assembled from interviews, articles, and Hirabayashi’s journal entries, the author’s family provides insight into how the accidental civil rights pioneer felt throughout his prison sentences. The strong faith afforded to him by his family’s upbringing and Quaker allegiance guided Hirabayashi to conscientiously object to the war effort, but his strong desire to be treated as a full citizen of the United States and his belief in constitutional equality shaped his resolve to object to discrimination. At one point, Hirabayashi refuses bail on the grounds that being forced to live in an internment camp would be at odds with his identity as an American citizen, and he later hitchhikes 1,600 miles to serve on a road camp outside of military grounds. The reliance on his journal make Hirabayashi’s odyssey through the judiciary system difficult to follow. In addition, particular trial details are summarized by third-party reports, while the lives of his parents, wife, and children are glossed over. However, in portraying Hirabayashi’s fight for his own American dream, the book successfully reminds us of the struggles needed to secure our freedoms today. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 232 pages - 978-0-295-80464-4
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-0-295-99432-1
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