A Glimpse Back in Time (#6) - The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Glimpse Back in Time is a feature where I talk about the interesting history behind the books that I read! If you want to see previous posts for this feature, look here!

I'm super excited about today's post because I'm featuring...

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

If you read my September Wrap Up post, you will know that this month ended up being semi-dedicated to The Darkest Minds! I have my reviews of the trilogy and two feature posts about the series up this month! This is the first post of all of that fun!

I was so excited to finally find a way to use my FAVORITE EVER SERIES in this feature. I was perusing Alex's tumblr when I stumbled across an ask that gave me exactly what I needed to feature this book!

So, without further ado, let's learn about Japanese Internment Camps during WWII!


According to the census in 1940, there were about 127,000 people of Japanese ancestry living in the United States. Most of them were living along the west coast. Many of them were second generation Americans, American born of Japanese immigrants.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, rumors started about whether or not Japanese Americans were loyal Japan or not and whether they were going to try and sabotage the war effort or not. A couple months later, in February 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This order forced the relocation of a majority of Japanese Americans to internment camps.

Some people repatriated to Japan. Many joined the several all-Japanese army regimens. And some relocated far enough east to be out of the exclusion zone. But most people endured around four years in the camps.

Life in the camps took on some familiarity with socialization and school for children, but it really messed with traditional family roles. Families were split up and put into different camps in some cases. There were opportunities for menial jobs with a pay of $5 a day, which emasculated the men. Women felt shamed due to a lack of privacy in barrack commodes for dressing and relieving themselves. They couldn't have quiet, traditional family meals. Fathers wound up eating in mess halls with the other men, women fed their infants alone. Cramped spaces had teenagers leaving, which further messed with the traditional Japanese family.

The older people were deprived of respect when only their American born children were allowed to hold any kind of authority position within the camps. These positions were often for meeting with government officials to report problems even though nothing was generally done with these reports. This disrespect had a number of people renouncing their American citizenship. A judge later ruled the renunciations made within camps were void. 

There were several court cases brought up against the camps, but the legality was upheld as a military necessity for national security. They feared espionage or sabotage from the Japanese Americans even though it was later documented that the government possessed proof that not a single person engaged in any form of espionage or sabotage.

Deaths occurred in the camps due to inadequate medical care. There were also several people who were killed by guards for not following orders.

As the war came to a close, camps began to close. Most people tried to return home to rebuild their lives. Some people had to start completely over someplace new due to hostility against Japanese Americans. The last camp wasn't closed until 1946. In 1988, restitution payments of $20,000 were awarded to each survivor of the camps.

Japanese internment camps are a huge disrespect of civil liberties by the American government. I think that this is another atrocity of WWII that is little known about. I know I had never heard about  these camps before I stumbled across this ask on Alex's tumblr!

Also, after I decided on this topic for my post this month, I saw that Kristen Simmons had a thread about her great grandmother's internment in one of these camps on Twitter.


Teaching With Documents: Documents and Photographs Related to Japanese Relocation During World War II from archives.gov

Am I alone in this? Is this something that is common knowledge to you? What do you think of the camps in the Darkest Minds being loosely based on these internment camps?


  1. Kristen Simmons' post on this was heartbreaking but also so crucial. The Japanese Internment camps are a very ugly moment in American history that US history books often try to sweep under the rug in favor of moments that show the US government in a more positive light.

    If you want to read more historical fiction about Japanese internment and the racism Japanese-Americans faced during WWII I would also recommend Bat-6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff, A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Dash by Kirby Larson, and Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I would be super jazzed to read more books about this! These camps are horrid and I can't believe they really did that with a whole nationality of people! I can see why they would want that mess swept under the rug. Horrible!

  2. I learned about these camps in Regents History here in NYS back in the mid 70s. Not in depth, like about the consentration camps, but I still was familiar with them. I don't know if it was because it was regents level, or because it is/was part of NYS teaching syllabus. My son just said he learned about them, too, but again he was in IB History, so I don't know if the regular History classes study it or not. I read a Middle Grade about it last year called Dash. This was another great post and has me even more excited about reading this trilogy next year. :)

    1. I am dying to hear what you think of this series! And yeah, I only ever took regular history classes and I never learned about these camps in school! Or in college, but I didn't have to take history in college. I am glad I was conveniently scrolling through Alex's tumblr feed around the time that question was posted otherwise I might never have known about them! See, I love historical fiction so much because I have learned SO much since I started this feature!


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