Academic journal article Military Review

Going for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers in the War against Nazi Germany

Academic journal article Military Review

Going for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers in the War against Nazi Germany

Article excerpt

GOING FOR BROKE: Japanese American Soldiers in the War Against Nazi Germany

James M. McCaffrey, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2013, 408 pages, $34.95

The story of Japanese American soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), and 522nd Field Artillery Battalion in the European theater is now a standard part of the history of the American experience in World War II. It would seem another account would be superfluous, but McCaffrey justifies his account as an approach that combines operational military and social history.

He works, as he has done in several other books, to describe the wartime experience from the individual soldier's point of view. His major sources are two large oral history collections, one at University of Hawaii and the other at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

He skillfully exploits these two collections as he follows the soldiers from recruitment or induction to their discharge and return to civilian life. The book is divided into 10 chapters; two detail the War Department's rationale and how the separate infantry battalion and the regiment were formed. The battalion was formed from soldiers in the federalized National Guard units, and the regiment from volunteers already serving in the Army and conscripts from the internment or concentration camps. Two chapters then describe the soldiers' training in the upper Midwest and the South (depicting the racism they experienced) and their subsequent trip across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean on a troop transport. …

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