Looking After Minidoka

Looking After Minidoka

An American Memoir
Nakadate, Neil
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Format: Paperback 19 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01102-2
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2014 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

During World War II, 110,000 Japanese Americans were removed from their homes and incarcerated by the US government. In Looking After Minidoka the "internment camp" years become a prism for understanding three generations of Japanese American life, from immigration to the end of the twentieth century. Nakadate blends history, poetry, rescued memory, and family stories in an American narrative of hope and disappointment, language and education, employment and social standing, prejudice and pain, communal values and personal dreams.

Author Bio

Neil Nakadate is Emeritus Professor of English, Iowa State University.


This is a compelling story, one that deserves being far better known than it is. . . . This book is very well written. It is clear, well organized, and rises here and there to a quiet grandeur. . . . It is much more than a labor of love, for his love is backed by solid industry and intellectual craft.Neil Nakadate's clear-eyed, carefully researched but nonetheless passionate book is rich with the closely observed details of internment camp life.  Looking After Minidoka, written with wisdom, understanding, and a writer's eye for the stories worth telling, is not only an important contribution to the literature of internment but also a important story about the promise and peril of America.By his skillful blending of history and memoir, Nakadate lifts the veil on a story too often shrouded in shadow, revealing beneath a portrait of a Japanese-American family in search of the differences between home and homeland.Looking After Minidoka is an innovative and engaging excursion into buried history—global and personal. A compelling family narrative, peppered with fragments of memory, history, and poetry, this heartfelt memoir underscores the power of the American Dream, as well as how easily fear and intolerance can corrupt it.Neil Nakadate’s Looking after Minidoka: An American Memoir is a beautifully crafted, powerfully moving American narrative. . . Nakadate’s memoir gives poignant life to chapters of American history that are still being written today by all who dream to be, as Nakadate’s mother’s transcribed name of “Meriko” says it, "a child of America."The story of our country is the story of a family is the story of a man, Neil Nakadate, whose richly researched and deeply felt memoir will move your head and your heart.

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Table of Contents

Preface: My Nickel
Note on Terminology and Pronunciation
Introduction: Looking After Minidoka
I. Issei
II. Nisei
III. Minidoka, 1942-1945
IV. Sansei
V. Unfinished

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