The Japanese American GIs Who Fought for the United States in World War II
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312354640, 320pp.
Publication Date: July 10, 2007
Despite the fact that they and their families had been forced into internment camps, thousands of the American sons of Japanese immigrants responded by volunteering to serve in the United States armed forces during World War II. As military historian Bill Yenne writes, "It was their country, and they wanted to serve, just like anyone else their age. These young Japanese Americans thought of themselves as Americans, and they wanted to prove it."
Most of these young Japanese Americans served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and its component 100th Infantry Battalion. For its size and length of service, the 442nd was the most decorated in the history of the US Army. The Japanese American GIs of the 442nd eventually earned 21 Medals of Honor and 9,486 Purple Hearts, while their outfit was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations.
"Rising Sons" brings to light the stories of these young men who faced down discrimination to serve their country. Some of these sons of Japanese immigrants came from Hawaii, where they had witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor firsthand, and responded like most Americans by signing up to serve. Most of the Japanese-Americans served in Italy and France, in the terrible and difficult battles at Anzio and Cassino, in the Vosges Mountains and on the Gothic Line. Detached from the regiment for service in southern Germany, the 442nd's artillery battalion had the ironic distinction of being one of the American units involved in the liberation of Dachau. Japanese-Americans also proved themselves invaluable in the Pacific as well, serving in the Military Intelligence Service or in the infamous special-ops commando team known as Merrill's Marauders.
Weaving together impeccable research with vivid firsthand accounts from surviving veterans, Yenne recounts the incredible stories of the Japanese-American soldiers who fought so bravely in World War II, men who were willing to lay down their lives for a country they were uncertain would ever accept them again. Their courageous actions proved that they, too, were true members of America's Greatest Generation.
BILL YENNE is the author of more than two dozen books on military and historical topics. The Wall Street Journal recently called his Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West "splendid" and went on to say that it "has the rare quality of being both an excellent reference work and a pleasure to read." His other works include The American Aircraft Factory in World War II, Operation Cobra and the Great Offensive: Sixty Days that Changed the Course of World War II, Aces: True Stories of Victory and Valor in the Skies of World War II, Black '41: The West Point Class of 1941 and the American Triumph in World War II, and The History of the US Air Force. He is a member of the American Aviation Historical Society, and is a regular contributor to International Air Power Review. He worked with the legendary US Air Force commander, General Curtis E. LeMay, to produce Superfortress: The B-29 and American Airpower in World War II. He lives in San Francisco.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR RISING SONS:
"Rising Sons is the best book yet written on the saga of the heroic Japanese Americans who served the United States so well during World War II. Yenne combines in-depth research with poignant personal narratives to make this fast-moving history a real page turner."
--Walter J. Boyne, former Director of the National Air & Space Museum and author of Beyond the Wild Blue
"Bill Yenne's Rising Sons shines a bright light onto a neglected aspect of the US Army during World War II. By exploring the life, times, triumphs and tribulations of Japanese - Americans who fought in 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Yenne uncovers a remarkable story. With its carefully developed mixture of rigorous analysis and copious interviews, this book is not only learned, it is also a first rate read."
--Lloyd Clark, Senior Lecturer in War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, U.K. and author of Anzio: Italy and the Battle for Rome - 1944