front cover of The Abu Ghraib Effect
The Abu Ghraib Effect
Stephen F. Eisenman
Reaktion Books, 2007

The line between punishment and torture can be razor-thin—yet the entire world agreed that it was definitively crossed at Abu Ghraib. Or perhaps not. George W. Bush won a second term in office only months after the Abu Ghraib scandal was uncovered, and only the lowest-ranking U.S. soldiers involved in the scandal have been prosecuted. Where was the public outcry? Stephen Eisenman offers here an unsettling explanation that exposes our darkest inclinations in the face of all-too-human brutality.

            Eisenman characterizes Americans’ willful dismissal of the images as “the Abu Ghraib effect,” rooted in the ways that the images of tortured Abu Ghraib prisoners tapped into a reactionary sentiment of imperialist self-justification and power. The complex elements in the images fit the “pathos formula,” he argues, an enduring artistic motif in which victims are depicted as taking pleasure in their own extreme pain. Meanwhile, the explicitly sexual nature of the Abu Ghraib tortures allowed Americans to rationalize the deeds away as voluntary pleasure acts by the prisoners—a delusional reaction, but, The Abu Ghraib Effect reveals, one with historical precedence. From Greek sculptures to Goya paintings, Eisenman deftly connects such works and their disturbing pathos motif to the Abu Ghraib images.

Skillfully weaving together visual theory, history, philosophy, and current events, Eisenman peels back the political obfuscation to probe the Abu Ghraib images themselves, contending that Americans can only begin to grapple with the ramifications of torture when the moral detachment of the “Abu Ghraib effect” breaks down and the familiar is revealed to be horribly unfamiliar.

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An American Dream
The Life of an African American Soldier and POW Who Spent Twelve Years in Communist China
Clarence Adams
University of Massachusetts Press, 2007
Throughout his life, Clarence Adams exhibited self-reliance, ambition, ingenuity, courage, and a commitment to learning—character traits often equated with the successful pursuit of the American Dream. Unfortunately, for an African American coming of age in the 1930s and 1940s, such attributes counted for little, especially in the South.

Adams was a seventeen-year-old high school dropout in 1947 when he fled Memphis and the local police to join the U.S. Army. Three years later, after fighting in the Korean War in an all-black artillery unit that he believed to have been sacrificed to save white troops, he was captured by the Chinese. After spending almost three years as a POW, during which he continued to suffer racism at the hands of his fellow Americans, he refused repatriation in 1953, choosing instead the People's Republic of China, where he hoped to find educational and career opportunities not readily available in his own country.

While living in China, Adams earned a university degree, married a Chinese professor of Russian, and worked in Beijing as a translator for the Foreign Languages Press. During the Vietnam War he made a controversial anti-war broadcast over Radio Hanoi, urging black troops not to fight for someone else's political and economic freedoms until they enjoyed these same rights at home.

In 1966, having come under suspicion during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, he returned with his wife and two children to the United States, where he was subpoenaed to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities to face charges of "disrupting the morale of American fighting forces in Vietnam and inciting revolution in the United States." After these charges were dropped, he and his family struggled to survive economically. Eventually, through sheer perseverance, they were able to fulfill at least part of the American Dream. By the time he died, the family owned and operated eight successful Chinese restaurants in his native Memphis.
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Andersonvilles of the North
The Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners
James M. Gillispie
University of North Texas Press, 2008

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At the Edge of the Abyss
A Concentration Camp Diary, 1943-1944
David Koker; Edited by Robert Jan van Pelt; Translated from the Dutch by Michiel Horn and John Irons
Northwestern University Press, 2012
Finalist for 2012 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category

David Koker's diary is one of the most notable accounts of life in a German concentration camp written by a Jew during the years of the Holocaust. First brought to attention when the Dutch historian Jacob Presser-Koker's history teacher in high school-quoted from Koker's diary in his monumental history, published in English as The Destruction of the Dutch Jews (1968), the diary itself became a part of the Dutch literary canon when it was published in 1977 as Dagboek geschreven in Vught (Diary Written in Vught). It has remained in print ever since, and is notable for its literary qualities, weaving poetry and powerful observations of the emotional life of a camp prisoner, including reflections after an in-person visit by Heinrich Himmler. Surprisingly, the book has never before been translated into English.

During his time in the Vught concentration camp, the 21-year-old David recorded on an almost daily basis his observations, thoughts, and feelings. He mercilessly probed the abyss that opened around him and, at times, within himself. David's diary covers almost a year, both charting his daily life in Vught as it developed over time and tracing his spiritual evolution as a writer. Until early February 1944, David was able to smuggle some 73,000 words from the camp to his best friend Karel van het Reve, a non-Jew. 

With an informative introduction, annotation, and list of dramatis personae by Robert Jan van Pelt, At the Edge of the Abyss offers an immediate and wholly original look into the life of a concentration camp prisoner.
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Attu Boy
A Young Alaskan's WWII Memoir
Nick Golodoff
University of Alaska Press, 2015
In the quiet of morning, exactly six months after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese touched down on American soil. Landing on the remote Alaska island of Attu, they assailed an entire village, holding the Alaskan villagers for two months and eventually corralling all survivors into a freighter bound for Japan.
One of those survivors, Nick Golodoff, became a prisoner of war at just six years old. He was among the dozens of Unangan Attu residents swept away to Hokkaido, and one of only twenty-five to survive. Attu Boy tells Golodoff’s story of these harrowing years as he found both friendship and cruelty at the hands of the Japanese. It offers a rare look at the lives of civilian prisoners and their captors in WWII-era Japan. It also tells of Golodoff’s bittersweet return to a homeland torn apart by occupation and forced internments. Interwoven with other voices from Attu, this richly illustrated memoir is a testament to the struggles, triumphs, and heartbreak of lives disrupted by war.
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Bataan Survivor
A POW’s Account of Japanese Captivity in World War II
David L. Hardee, Edited by Frank A. Blazich, Jr.
University of Missouri Press, 2016

A forgotten account, written in the immediate aftermath of World War II, which vividly portrays the valor, sacrifice, suffering, and liberation of the defenders of Bataan and Corregidor through the eyes of one survivor.

The personal memoir of Colonel David L. Hardee, first drafted at sea from April-May 1945 following his liberation from Japanese captivity, is a thorough treatment of his time in the Philippines. A career infantry officer, Hardee fought during the Battle of Bataan as executive officer of the Provisional Air Corps Regiment. Captured in April 1942 after the American surrender on Bataan, Hardee survived the Bataan Death March and proceeded to endure a series of squalid prison camps. A debilitating hernia left Hardee too ill to travel to Japan in 1944, making him one of the few lieutenant colonels to remain in the Philippines and subsequently survive the war. As a primary account written almost immediately after his liberation, Hardee’s memoir is fresh, vivid, and devoid of decades of faded memories or contemporary influences associated with memoirs written years after an experience. This once-forgotten memoir has been carefully edited, illustrated and annotated to unlock the true depths of Hardee’s experience as a soldier, prisoner, and liberated survivor of the Pacific War.

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Broken Soldiers
Raymond B. Lech
University of Illinois Press, 2000
Traversing the no-man's-land of political loyalty and betrayal, Broken Soldiers documents the fierce battle for the minds and hearts of American prisoners during the Korean War. In scorching detail, Raymond Lech describes the soldiers' day-to-day experiences in prisoner-of-war camps and the shocking treatment some of them received at the hands of their own countrymen after the war. Why, he asks, were only fourteen American soldiers tried as collaborators when thousands of others who admitted to some of the same offenses were not?
 
Drawing on some 60,000 pages of court-martial transcripts Lech secured through the Freedom of Information Act, Broken Soldiers documents the appalling treatment and the sophisticated propagandizing to which American POWs fell victim during the Korean conflict. Three thousand American soldiers perished in North Korean camps over the winter of 1950-51, most from starvation. Through the unsentimental testimony of survivors, Lech describes how these young men, filthy and lice-infested, lost an average of 40 percent of their body weight. Many also lost their powers of resistance and their grip on soldierly conduct.
 
After six months of starvation, the emaciated, disoriented prisoners were subjected to a relentless campaign to educate them to the virtues of communism. Bombarded with propaganda, the Americans were organized into study groups and forced to discuss and write about communism and Marxism, even to broadcast harangues against capitalist aggression and appeals for an end to the war.
 
Lech traces the spiral of debilitation and compromise, showing how parroting certain phrases came to seem a small price to pay for physical safety. Threatened with starvation and indefinite confinement in Korea, many POWs succumbed to pressure to mouth communist slogans and provide information far in excess of the regulation "name, rank, and service number."
 
Of the thousands of American soldiers who, while prisoners in North Korea, spoke and wrote favorably of communism and disparaged their country, a handful were charged with collaborating with the enemy. Why were so few singled out? Why did each branch of the armed services judge parallel circumstances differently, and why were American soldiers not realistically prepared for capture? A powerful indictment of justice miscarried, Broken Soldiers  raises troubling questions that remain unanswered decades after the events.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Cadaverland
Inventing a Pathology of Catastrophe for Holocaust Survival [The Limits of Medical Knowledge and Historical Memory in France]
Michael Dorland
Brandeis University Press, 2009
In this extraordinary study, Michael Dorland explores sixty years of medical attempts by French doctors (mainly in the fields of neuropsychiatry and psychoanalysis) to describe the effects of concentration camp incarceration on Holocaust survivors. Dorland begins with a discussion of the liberation of concentration camp survivors, their stay in deportation camps, and eventual return to France, analyzing the circulation of mainly medical (neuropsychiatric) knowledge, its struggles to establish a symptomology of camp effects, and its broadening out into connected medical fields such as psychoanalysis. He then turns specifically to the French medical doctors who studied Holocaust survivors, and he investigates somatic, psychological, and holistic conceptions of survivors as patients and human beings. The final third of the book offers a comparative look at the “psy-science” approach to Holocaust survival beyond France, particularly in the United States and Israel. He illuminates the peculiar journey of a medical discourse that began in France but took on new forms elsewhere, eventually expanding into nonmedical fields to create the basis of the “traumato-culture” with which we are familiar today. Embedding his analysis of different medical discourses in the sociopolitical history of France in the twentieth century, he also looks at the French Jewish Question as it affected French medicine, the effects of five years of Nazi Occupation, France’s enthusiastic collaboration, and the problems this would pose for postwar collective memory.
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Camp Chase and the Evolution of Union Prison Policy
Roger Pickenpaugh
University of Alabama Press, 2007
Discusses an important yet often misunderstood topic in American History

Camp Chase was a major Union POW camp and also served at various times as a Union military training facility and as quarters for Union soldiers who had been taken prisoner by the Confederacy and released on parole or exchanged. As such, this careful, thorough, and objective examination of the history and administration of the camp will be of true significance in the literature on the Civil War.
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Captives in Blue
The Civil War Prisons of the Confederacy
Roger Pickenpaugh
University of Alabama Press, 2013
A study of Union prisoners in Confederate prisons

In Captives in Blue, Roger Pickenpaugh examines the ways the Confederate army contended with the growing prison population, the variations in the policies and practices of different Confederate prison camps, the effects these policies and practices had on Union prisoners, and the logistics of prisoner exchanges. He explores conditions that arose from conscious government policy decisions and conditions that were the product of local officials or unique local situations. He also considers how Confederate prisons and policies dealt with African American Union soldiers. Black soldiers held captive in Confederate prisons faced uncertain fates; many former slaves were returned to their former owners, while others faced harsh treatment in the camps. Drawing on prisoner diaries, Pickenpaugh provides compelling first-person accounts of life in prison camps often overlooked by scholars in the field.

This study of Union captives in Confederate prisons is a companion to Roger Pickenpaugh’s earlier groundbreaking book Captives in Gray: The Civil War Prisons of the Union and extends his examination of Civil War prisoner-of-war facilities into the Confederacy.
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Changing Sides
Union Prisoners of War Who Joined the Confederate Army
Patrick H. Garrow
University of Tennessee Press, 2020

Toward the end of the American Civil War, the Confederacy faced manpower shortages, and the Confederate Army, following practices the Union had already adopted, began to recruit soldiers from their prison ranks. They targeted foreign-born soldiers whom they thought might not have strong allegiances to the North. Key battalions included the Brooks Battalion, a unit composed entirely of Union soldiers who wished to join the Confederacy and were not formally recruited; Tucker’s Regiment and the 8th Battalion Confederate Infantry recruited mainly among Irish, German, and French immigrants.

Though the scholarship on the Civil War is vast, Changing Sides represents the first entry to investigate Union POWs who fought for the Confederacy, filling a significant gap in the historiography of Civil War incarceration. To provide context, Patrick Garrow traces the history of the practice of recruiting troops from enemy POWs, noting the influence of the mostly immigrant San Patricios in the Mexican-American War. The author goes on to describe Confederate prisons, where conditions often provided ample incentive to change sides. Garrow’s original archival research in an array of archival records, along with his archaeological excavation of the Confederate guard camp at Florence, South Carolina, in 2006, provide a wealth of data on the lives of these POWs, not only as they experienced imprisonment and being “galvanized” to the other side, but also what happened to them after the war was over.

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A Confederate Chronicle
The Life of a Civil War Survivor
Pamela Chase Hain
University of Missouri Press, 2005
A Confederate Chronicle presents the remarkable life of Thomas L. Wragg, who served in both the Confederate army and navy and endured incarceration as a prisoner of war. After the war, he undertook a series of jobs, eventually becoming a physician. In 1889, he died tragically at the hands of a man who mistakenly thought he was defending his family’s honor. Pamela Chase Hain uses Wragg’s letters home to his family, friends, and fiancée, as well as his naval notebook and newspaper articles, to give readers direct insight into his life and the lives of those around him.
The son of a respected Savannah physician, Wragg was born into a life of wealth and privilege. A nonconscripted soldier, he left home at eighteen to join the front lines in Virginia. From there, he sent letters home describing the maneuverings of General Joseph E. Johnston’s army in and around Harpers Ferry and Winchester, culminating with the Battle of Bull Run.
In the fall of 1862, Wragg joined the Confederate Navy and trained on the ironclad CSS Georgia before transferring to the CSS Atlanta. Hain uses the notebook that he kept during his training in ordnance and gunnery to provide a rare glimpse into the naval and artillery practices at the time. This notebook also provides evidence of a fledgling Confederate naval “school” prior to the one established on the James River on the CSS Patrick Henry.
The crew of the unfortunate Atlanta was captured on the ship’s maiden voyage, and evidence in the Wragg family papers suggests the capture was not the result of bad luck, as has been claimed. Wragg and the other officers were sent to Fort Warren Prison in Boston Harbor for fifteen months. Wragg’s POW letters reveal the isolation and sense of abandonment the prisoners felt as they waited in hopes of an exchange. The correspondence between Wragg and his fiancée, Josie, after the war illustrates not only the mores of nineteenth-century courtship but also the difficulty of adjustment that many Confederate war veterans faced.
Sadly, Wragg’s life was cut short after he became a successful doctor in Quincy, Florida. Cover-up and intrigue by influential citizens prevented Wragg’s wife from bringing the murderer to justice. A Confederate Chronicle offers an unprecedented look at how the Civil War affected the gentry class of the South. It gives readers a personal view into one man’s struggle with the chaos of life during and after the war, as well as into the struggles of the general society.
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Eight Prison Camps
A Dutch Family in Japanese Java
Dieuwke Wendelaar Bonga
Ohio University Press, 1996

Eldest daughter of eight children, the author grew up in Surakarta, Java, in what is now Indonesia. In the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, however, Dutch nationals were rounded up by Japanese soldiers and put in internment camps. Her father and brother were sent to separate men’s camps, leaving the author, her mother, and the five younger children in the women’s camp. In this and later seven other prison camps in central Java, their lives gradually deteriorated from early days of fear and crowding to near starvation, forced labor, beatings, and seeing others disappear or die. On the family’s return to Holland after the war, they found a nation recovering from German occupation and largely ignorant of the horror of the Far East experience.

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Eleven Winters of Discontent
The Siberian Internment and the Making of a New Japan
Sherzod Muminov
Harvard University Press, 2022

The odyssey of 600,000 imperial Japanese soldiers incarcerated in Soviet labor camps after World War II and their fraught repatriation to postwar Japan.

In August 1945 the Soviet Union seized the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo and the colony of Southern Sakhalin, capturing more than 600,000 Japanese soldiers, who were transported to labor camps across the Soviet Union but primarily concentrated in Siberia and the Far East. Imprisonment came as a surprise to the soldiers, who thought they were being shipped home.

The Japanese prisoners became a workforce for the rebuilding Soviets, as well as pawns in the Cold War. Alongside other Axis POWs, they did backbreaking jobs, from mining and logging to agriculture and construction. They were routinely subjected to “reeducation” glorifying the Soviet system and urging them to support the newly legalized Japanese Communist Party and to resist American influence in Japan upon repatriation. About 60,000 Japanese didn’t survive Siberia. The rest were sent home in waves, the last lingering in the camps until 1956. Already laid low by war and years of hard labor, returnees faced the final shock and alienation of an unrecognizable homeland, transformed after the demise of the imperial state.

Sherzod Muminov draws on extensive Japanese, Russian, and English archives—including memoirs and survivor interviews—to piece together a portrait of life in Siberia and in Japan afterward. Eleven Winters of Discontent reveals the real people underneath facile tropes of the prisoner of war and expands our understanding of the Cold War front. Superpower confrontation played out in the Siberian camps as surely as it did in Berlin or the Bay of Pigs.

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The Guantanamo Files
The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison
Andy Worthington
Pluto Press, 2007
In 2006, four years after Guantanamo Bay prison opened, the Pentagon finally released the names of the 773 men held there,along with 7,000 pages of transcripts from tribunals assessing their status as "enemy combatants". Andy Worthington is the only person to have analyzed every page of these transcripts.
Drawing on these documents,as well as news reports and interviews with lawyers and released detainees, this book reveals, for the first time, the stories of all those imprisoned in Guantanamo.
This book does not make for easy reading, Deprived of the safeguards of the Geneva Conventions, and, for the most part,sold to the Americans by their allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the detainees have struggled for five years to have their stories heard. Looking in detail at the circumstances of their capture, and at the coercive interrogations and unsubstantiated allegations that have been used to justify their detention, The Guantanamo Files reveals that the majority of those captured were either Taliban foot soldiers or humanitarian aid workers, religious teachers and economic migrants,who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The book also uncovers stories of torture in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, and contains new information about the process of "extraordinary rendition" that underpins the "war on terror"'.
Who will speak for the 773 men who have been held in Guantanamo? This passionate and brilliantly detailed book brings their stories to the world for the first time.
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The Human Race
Robert Antelme
Northwestern University Press, 1998
Arrested by the Gestapo and deported to Dachau, Robert Antelme recovered his freedom a year later when François Mitterand, visiting the camp in an official capacity, recognized the dying Antelme and had him spirited to Paris. Antelme's story of his experiences in Germany--his only book--indelibly marked an entire generation, "a work written without hatred, a work of boundless compassion such as that is to be found only in the great Russians."
 
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If I Get Out Alive
The World War II Letters and Diaries of William H McDougall Jr
Gary Topping
University of Utah Press, 2007
In 1939, William H. McDougall was a newspaperman from Salt Lake City who quit his job and went to work for the Japan Times, an English-language newspaper in Tokyo, and later for the United Press, for which he covered the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and the fall of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). When the ship on which he had escaped from Java was sunk, he reached the island of Sumatra, where he was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese until 1945. 

McDougall’s letters to his family offer a rare and detailed look at daily life in Tokyo and in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during the months leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. After his imprisonment in Sumatra, he began keeping a daily journal of his experiences as a POW. Published here for the first time are the journals he retrieved at the end of World War II.

Written by an articulate and perceptive professional reporter, McDougall's letters and diaries offer an intimate, personal narrative of conditions in wartime East Asia. 
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"I'm Not Gonna Die in This Damn Place"
Manliness, Identity, and Survival of the Mexican American Vietnam Prisoners of War
Juan David Coronado
Michigan State University Press, 2018
By the time of the Vietnam War era, the “Mexican American Generation” had made tremendous progress both socially and politically. However, the number of Mexican Americans in comparison to the number of white prisoners of war (POWs) illustrated the significant discrimination and inequality the Chicano population faced in both military and civilian landscapes. Chicanos were disproportionately “grunts” (infantry), who were more likely to be killed when captured, while pilots and officers were more likely to be both white and held as POWs for negotiating purposes. A fascinating look at the Vietnam War era from a Chicano perspective, “I’m Not Gonna Die in this Damn Place”: Manliness, Identity, and Survival of the Mexican American Vietnam Prisoners of War gives voice to the Mexican American POWs. The stories of these men and their families provide insights to the Chicano Vietnam War experience, while also adding tremendously to the American POW story. This book is an important read for academics and military enthusiasts alike.
 
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John Dooley's Civil War
An Irish American's Journey in the First Virginia Infantry Regiment
Robert Emmett Curran
University of Tennessee Press, 2012


Among the finer soldier-diarists of the Civil War, John Edward Dooley first came to the attention of readers when an edition of his wartime journal, edited by Joseph Durkin, was published in 1945. That book, John Dooley, Confederate Soldier, became a widely used resource for historians, who frequently tapped Dooley’s vivid accounts of Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, where he was wounded during Pickett’s Charge and subsequently captured.
    As it happens, the 1945 edition is actually a much-truncated version of Dooley’s original journal that fails to capture the full scope of his wartime experience—the oscillating rhythm of life on the campaign trail, in camp, in Union prisons, and on parole. Nor does it recognize how Dooley, the son of a successful Irish-born Richmond businessman, used his reminiscences as a testament to the Lost Cause. John Dooley’s Civil War gives us, for the first time, a comprehensive version of Dooley’s “war notes,” which editor Robert Emmett Curran has reassembled from seven different manuscripts and meticulously annotated. The notes were created as diaries that recorded Dooley’s service as an officer in the famed First Virginia Regiment along with his twenty months as a prisoner of war. After the war, they were expanded and recast years later as Dooley, then studying for the Catholic priesthood, reflected on the war and its aftermath. As Curran points out, Dooley’s reworking of his writings was shaped in large part by his ethnic heritage and the connections he drew between the aspirations of the Irish and those of the white South.
    In addition to the war notes, the book includes a prewar essay that Dooley wrote in defense of secession and an extended poem he penned in 1870 on what he perceived as the evils of Reconstruction. The result is a remarkable picture not only of how one articulate southerner endured the hardships of war and imprisonment, but also of how he positioned his own experience within the tragic myth of valor, sacrifice, and crushed dreams of independence that former Confederates fashioned in the postwar era.

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Keep Your Airspeed Up
The Story of a Tuskegee Airman
Harold H. Brown and Marsha S. Bordner
University of Alabama Press, 2017
Inspiring memoir of Colonel Harold H. Brown, one of the 930 original Tuskegee pilots, whose dramatic wartime exploits and postwar professional successes contribute to this extraordinary account.

Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman is the memoir of an African American man who, through dedication to his goals and vision, overcame the despair of racial segregation to great heights, not only as a military aviator, but also as an educator and as an American citizen.
 
Unlike other historical and autobiographical portrayals of Tuskegee airmen, Harold H. Brown’s memoir is told from its beginnings: not on the first day of combat, not on the first day of training, but at the very moment Brown realized he was meant to be a pilot. He revisits his childhood in Minneapolis where his fascination with planes pushed him to save up enough of his own money to take flying lessons. Brown also details his first trip to the South, where he was met with a level of segregation he had never before experienced and had never imagined possible.
 
During the 1930s and 1940s, longstanding policies of racial discrimination were called into question as it became clear that America would likely be drawn into World War II. The military reluctantly allowed for the development of a flight-training program for a limited number of African Americans on a segregated base in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen, as well as other African Americans in the armed forces, had the unique experience of fighting two wars at once: one against Hitler’s fascist regime overseas and one against racial segregation at home.
 
Colonel Brown fought as a combat pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II, and was captured and imprisoned in Stalag VII A in Moosburg, Germany, where he was liberated by General George S. Patton on April 29, 1945. Upon returning home, Brown noted with acute disappointment that race relations in the United States hadn’t changed. It wasn’t until 1948 that the military desegregated, which many scholars argue would not have been possible without the exemplary performance of the Tuskegee Airmen.
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Knowing by Ear
Listening to Voice Recordings with African Prisoners of War in German Camps (1915–1918)
Anette Hoffmann
Duke University Press, 2024
During World War I, thousands of young African men conscripted to fight for France and Britain were captured and held as prisoners of war in Germany, where their stories and songs were recorded and archived by German linguists. In Knowing by Ear, Anette Hoffmann demonstrates that listening to these acoustic recordings as historical sources, rather than linguistic samples, opens up possibilities for new historical perspectives and the formation of alternate archival practices and knowledge production. She foregrounds the archival presence of individual speakers and positions their recorded voices as responses to their experiences of colonialism, war, and the journey from Africa to Europe. By engaging with the recordings alongside written sources, photographs, and artworks depicting the speakers, Hoffmann personalizes speakers from present-day Senegal, Somalia, Togo, and Congo. Knowing by Ear includes transcriptions of numerous recordings of spoken and sung texts, revealing acoustic archives as significant yet under-researched sources for recovering the historical speaking positions of colonized subjects and listen to the acoustic echo of colonial knowledge production.
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Living in the Shadow of a Hell Ship
The Survival Story of U.S. Marine George Burlage, a WWII Prisoner-of-War of the Japanese
Georgianne Burlage
University of North Texas Press, 2020

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Men in German Uniform
POWs in America during World War II
Antonio Thompson
University of Tennessee Press, 2010

Examining the largest prisoner-of-war handling operation in U.S. history, this book offers a meticulous account of the myriad history, this book offers a meticulous account of the myriad problems—as well as the impressive successes—that came with problems—as well as the impressive successes—that came with housing 371,000 German POWs on American soil during World War II. Antonio Thompson draws on extensive archival research to probe the various ways in which the U.S. government strove to comply with the Geneva Convention’s mandate that enemy prisoners be moved from the war zone and given food, shelter, and clothing equal to that provided for American soldiers.

While the prisoners became a ready source of manpower for the labor- starved American home front and received small wages in return, their stay in the United States generated more than a few difficulties, which included not only daunting logistics but also violence within the camps. Such violence was often blamed on Nazi influence and control; however, as Thompson points out, only a few of the prisoners were actually Nazis. Because the Germans had cobbled together military forces that included convicts, their own POWs, volunteers from neutral nations, and conscripts from occupied countries, the bonds that held these soldiers together amid the pressures of combat dissolved once they were placed behind barbed wire. When these “men in German uniform,” who were not always Germans, donned POW garb, their former social, racial, religious, and ethnic tensions quickly reemerged.

To counter such troubles, American authorities organized various activities—including sports, arts, education, and religion—within the
POW camps; some prisoners even participated in an illegal denazification program created by the U.S. government. Despite the problems, Thompson argues, the POW-housing program proved largely successful, as Americans maintained their reputation for fairness and humane treatment during a time of widespread turmoil.

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Not Without Honor
The Nazi POW Journal of Steve Carano; With Accounts by John C. Bitzer and Bill Blackmon
Kay Sloan
University of Arkansas Press, 2008
Not Without Honor threads together the stories of three American POWs—Carano; his buddy Bill Blackmon, who was also at Stalag 17 b; and John C. Bitzer, who survived the brutal “Death March” from northern Germany to liberation in April 1945. At times the journal reads like a thriller as he records air battles and escape attempts. Yet in their most gripping accounts, these POWs ruminate on psychological survival. The sense of community they formed was instrumental to their endurance. This compelling book allows the reader to journey with these young men as they bore firsthand witness to the best and worst of human nature.
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On Robert Antelme's The Human Race
Essays and Commentary
Robert Antelme
Northwestern University Press, 2003
Rescued in 1945 from Dachau—where François Mitterand, his onetime comrade in the resistance, recognized him among the thousands of quarantined prisoners—Robert Antelme set out to do what seemed "unimaginable," to describe not only his experience but the humanity of his captors. The result, The Human Race, was called by George Perec "the finest example in contemporary French writing of what literature can be."

In this volume, the extraordinary nature and extent of Robert Antelme's accomplishment, and of the reverberations he set in motion in French life and literature, finds eloquent expression. The pieces Antelme wrote for journals—including essays on "principles put to the test," man as the "basis of right," and the question of revenge—appear here alongside appreciations of The Human Race by authors from Perec to Maurice Blanchot to Sarah Kofman. Also included are Antelme's personal recollections and interviews with, among others, Dionys Mascolo (who brought Antelme back from Dachau), Marguerite Duras (Antelme's wife, who tells of his return from Germany), and Mitterand.

Also available: Antelme's The Human Race
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Our Suffering Brethren
Foreign Captivity and Nationalism in the Early United States
David J. Dzurec III
University of Massachusetts Press, 2019
In October 1785, American statesman John Jay acknowledged that the more his countrymen "are treated ill abroad, the more we shall unite and consolidate at home." Behind this simple statement lies a complicated history. From the British impressment of patriots during the Revolution to the capture of American sailors by Algerian corsairs and Barbary pirates at the dawn of the nineteenth century, stories of Americans imprisoned abroad helped jumpstart democratic debate as citizens acted on their newly unified identity to demand that their government strengthen efforts to free their fellow Americans. Deliberations about the country's vulnerabilities in the Atlantic world reveal America's commitment to protecting the legacy of the Revolution as well as growing political divisions.

Drawing on newspaper accounts, prisoner narratives, and government records, David J. Dzurec III explores how stories of American captivity in North America, Europe, and Africa played a critical role in the development of American political culture, adding a new layer to our understanding of foreign relations and domestic politics in the early American republic.
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A Perfect Picture Of Hell
Eyewitness Accounts By Civil War Prisoners From 12Th Io
Ted Genoways
University of Iowa Press, 2000

From the shooting of an unarmed prisoner at Montgomery, Alabama, to a successful escape from Belle Isle, from the swelling floodwaters overtaking Cahaba Prison to the inferno that finally engulfed Andersonville, A Perfect Picture of Hell is a collection of harrowing narratives by soldiers from the 12th Iowa Infantry who survived imprisonment in the South during the Civil War.
Editors Ted Genoways and Hugh Genoways have collected the soldiers' startling accounts from diaries, letters, speeches, newspaper articles, and remembrances. Arranged chronologically, the eyewitness descriptions of the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Jackson, and Tupelo, together with accompanying accounts of nearly every famous Confederate prison, create a shared vision

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Presidential Accountability in Wartime
President Bush, the Treatment of Detainees, and the Laws of War
Stuart Streichler
University of Michigan Press, 2023
The American presidency has long tested the capacity of the system of checks and balances to constrain executive power, especially in times of war. While scholars have examined presidents starting military conflicts without congressional authorization or infringing on civil liberties in the name of national security, Stuart Streichler focuses on the conduct of hostilities. Using the treatment of war-on-terror detainees under President George W. Bush as a case study, he integrates international humanitarian law into a constitutional analysis of the repercussions of presidential war powers for human rights around the world.

Putting President Bush’s actions in a wider context, Presidential Accountability in Wartime begins with a historical survey of the laws of war, with particular emphasis on the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Tribunal. Streichler then reconstructs the decision-making process that led to the president’s approval of interrogation methods that violated Geneva’s mandate to treat wartime captives humanely. While taking note of various accountability options—from within the executive branch to the International Criminal Court—the book illustrates the challenge in holding presidents personally responsible for violating the laws of war through an in-depth analysis of the actions taken by Congress, the Supreme Court, and the public in response. In doing so, this book not only raises questions about whether international humanitarian law can moderate wartime presidential behavior but also about the character of the presidency and the American constitutional system of government.
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Prisoner of Wars
A Hmong Fighter Pilot's Story of Escaping Death and Confronting Life
Chia Youyee Vang
Temple University Press, 2021

Retired Captain Pao Yang was a Hmong airman trained by the U.S. Air Force and CIA to fly T-28D aircraft for the U.S. Secret War in Laos. However, his plane was shot down during a mission in June 1972. Yang survived, but enemy forces captured him and sent him to a POW camp in northeastern Laos. He remained imprisoned for four years after the United States withdrew from Vietnam because he fought on the American side of the war. 

Prisoner of Wars shows the impact the U.S Secret War in Laos had on Hmong combatants and their families. Chia Vang uses oral histories thatpoignantly recount Yang’s story and the deeply personal struggles his loved ones—who feared he had died—experienced in both Southeast Asia and the United States. As Yang eventually rebuilt his life in America, he grappled with issues of freedom and trauma.

Yang’s life provides a unique lens through which to better understand the lasting impact of the wars in Southeast Asia and the diverse journeys that migrants from Asia made over the last two centuries. Prisoner of Wars makes visible an aspect of the collateral damage that has been left out of dominant Vietnam War narratives.

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Prisoners of the Empire
Inside Japanese POW Camps
Sarah Kovner
Harvard University Press, 2020

A pathbreaking account of World War II POW camps, challenging the longstanding belief that the Japanese Empire systematically mistreated Allied prisoners.

In only five months, from the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 to the fall of Corregidor in May 1942, the Japanese Empire took prisoner more than 140,000 Allied servicemen and 130,000 civilians from a dozen different countries. From Manchuria to Java, Burma to New Guinea, the Japanese army hastily set up over seven hundred camps to imprison these unfortunates. In the chaos, 40 percent of American POWs did not survive. More Australians died in captivity than were killed in combat.

Sarah Kovner offers the first portrait of detention in the Pacific theater that explains why so many suffered. She follows Allied servicemen in Singapore and the Philippines transported to Japan on “hellships” and singled out for hard labor, but also describes the experience of guards and camp commanders, who were completely unprepared for the task. Much of the worst treatment resulted from a lack of planning, poor training, and bureaucratic incoherence rather than an established policy of debasing and tormenting prisoners. The struggle of POWs tended to be greatest where Tokyo exercised the least control, and many were killed by Allied bombs and torpedoes rather than deliberate mistreatment.

By going beyond the horrific accounts of captivity to actually explain why inmates were neglected and abused, Prisoners of the Empire contributes to ongoing debates over POW treatment across myriad war zones, even to the present day.

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Profiles in Survival
The Experiences of American POWs in the Philippines during World War II
John C. Shively
Indiana Historical Society Press, 2012
The stories of seven men and one woman from Indiana who survived the horrors of captivity under the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II are captured in vivid detail. These Hoosiers were ordered to surrender following the fall of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942. It was the largest surrender of American armed forces in U.S. history and the beginning of three years of hell starting with the infamous Bataan Death March, facing brutal conditions in POW camps in the Philippines, and horrific journeys to Japan for some onboard what came to be known as “hellships.” Former Indiana governor Edgar D. Whitcomb, one of those featured in the book, notes that the American prisoners had to endure “unimaginable misery and brutality at the hands of sadistic Japanese guards,” as they were routinely beaten and many were executed for the most minor offenses, or for mere sport. In addition to Whitcomb, those profiled include Irvin Alexander, Harry Brown, William Clark, James Duckworth, Eleanor Garen, Melvin McCoy, and Hugh Sims.
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Recollections of Life on the Prison Ship Jersey
Thomas Dring
Westholme Publishing, 2010
A First-hand Account of Prison Experience in the American Revolution
“Among the many events which took place during the Revolutionary War from its commencement to its termination [are] the cruelties inflicted upon that unfortunate class of men who had the misfortune to be numbered among the prisoners [of the British] and more particularly those whom the dreadful chance of war had placed on board their prison ships at New York.” So begins the remarkable narrative of Thomas Dring. In 1824, Dring was an aging man of 65, retired in his native state of Rhode Island. Forty-two years before, he, like thousands of other young men, had been caught up in the American cause. In 1782, he had been captured by the British and sentenced to the infamous prison ship Jersey, a demasted hulk anchored in the East River off New York City. It is estimated that more than 11,000 men perished on the British prison ships over the course of the war, and their bones regularly washed up on the shore long after hostilities ceased. Dring survived to tell the tale, and in 1824, he decided to do just that. He was motivated partly because the fate of the prisoners was beginning to be doubted, that their hardships were thought to have been grossly exaggerated, and even that the entire experience had never occurred.

This book publishes for the first time the complete text of Dring’s handwritten manuscript, a major primary-source document, in which he describes the horrible conditions, treatment by guards, and experiences that he and others endured during captivity. Recollections of Life on the Prison Ship Jersey is a plea not to forget but instead to remember the inhumanity of the captors and the sacrifices of the captives—a message that continues to resonate today. Editor David Swain has provided an introductory essay and extensive notes that contain background information and historical documentation to accompany and illuminate the original manuscript.

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Stark Decency
German Prisoners of War in a New England Village
Allen V. Koop
Dartmouth College Press, 1988
Stark Decency is a window into the events of two vastly different worlds: German combat veterans captured in North Africa and Normandy, and the small New Hampshire logging town which found itself hosting the prison camp. Each side was forced to confront its prejudices and fears, and examine the merits and flaws of its ideology. Then, an astonishing thing happened: in their rural isolation, sharing harsh weather conditions and the pinch of wartime rationing, friendships began to develop. Prisoners and their guards sometimes even worked together to meet the daily pulpwood quotas, and little handmade gifts to the local villagers cemented friendships that continue to this day.
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The Torture Camp on Paradise Street
Stanislav Aseyev
Harvard University Press, 2022

Finalist, 2024 PEN Translation Prize

In The Torture Camp on Paradise Street, Ukrainian journalist and writer Stanislav Aseyev details his experience as a prisoner from 2015 to 2017 in a modern-day concentration camp overseen by the Federal Security Bureau of the Russian Federation (FSB) in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk. This memoir recounts an endless ordeal of psychological and physical abuse, including torture and rape, inflicted upon the author and his fellow inmates over the course of nearly three years of illegal incarceration spent largely in the prison called Izoliatsiia (Isolation). Aseyev also reflects on how a human can survive such atrocities and reenter the world to share his story.

Since February 2022, numerous cases of illegal detainment and extreme mistreatment have been reported in the Ukrainian towns and villages occupied by Russian forces during the full-scale invasion. These and other war crimes committed by Russian troops speak to the horrors wreaked upon Ukrainians forced to live in Russian-occupied zones. It is important to remember, however, that the torture and killing of Ukrainians by Russian security and military forces began long before 2022. Rendered deftly into English, Aseyev’s compelling account offers a critical insight into the operations of Russian forces in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

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Valleys of the Shadow
The Memoir of Confederate Captain Reuben G. Clark
Willene B. Clark
University of Tennessee Press, 1994
Valleys of the Shadow is the previously unpublished account of Captain Reuben Clark’s first-hand experiences as a Confederate officer, a prisoner of war, and a post war civilian living in a conquered state.

Captain Clark was a twenty-seven-year-old Knoxville businessman when the first shots of the Civil War were fired in 1861. Like many southern gentlemen, Clark was opposed to secession but could not desert his family and friends. Enlisting as a first lieutenant in the Confederacy’s Third Tennessee Infantry  Regiment, he spent his first night as a soldier on the bloody battlefield of Manasses.  Clark’s recollections of Manasses and the battles and skirmishes that followed pinpoint his regiment’s activities in previously undocumented areas while providing valuable analyses of battles from a participant’s point of view and discussing the irony many soldiers felt when battle pitted them against men they had known before the war in business, politics, and society.

Captured after the battle of Morristown in the fall of 1864, Clark was jailed in Knoxville, then under Federal control. His account of the eight months he spent as a prisoner—his harsh treatment, a near-fatal illness, the false accusations of traitorous activities—offer a detailed description of the physical and legal battles of a Confederate prisoner of war fighting to obtain his freedom.  Clark’s post war experiences relate his struggles as a former Rebel living in a conquered state, reflecting the deeply divided loyalties of East Tennessee that continued for years after the war’s end.

This first book in the Voices of the Civil War series shares the story of a man who remained sensible of his kinship with those he was forced to call his enemies. Written a quarter-century after the war began, Clark's memories vividly bring to life the tragedy that was the Civil War.
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Vital Enemies
Slavery, Predation, and the Amerindian Political Economy of Life
By Fernando Santos-Granero
University of Texas Press, 2009

Analyzing slavery and other forms of servitude in six non-state indigenous societies of tropical America at the time of European contact, Vital Enemies offers a fascinating new approach to the study of slavery based on the notion of "political economy of life." Fernando Santos-Granero draws on the earliest available historical sources to provide novel information on Amerindian regimes of servitude, sociologies of submission, and ideologies of capture.

Estimating that captive slaves represented up to 20 percent of the total population and up to 40 percent when combined with other forms of servitude, Santos-Granero argues that native forms of servitude fulfill the modern understandings of slavery, though Amerindian contexts provide crucial distinctions with slavery as it developed in the American South. The Amerindian understanding of life forces as being finite, scarce, unequally distributed, and in constant circulation yields a concept of all living beings as competing for vital energy. The capture of human beings is an extreme manifestation of this understanding, but it marks an important element in the ways Amerindian "captive slavery" was misconstrued by European conquistadors.

Illuminating a cultural facet that has been widely overlooked or miscast for centuries, Vital Enemies makes possible new dialogues regarding hierarchies in the field of native studies, as well as a provocative re-framing of pre- and post-contact America.

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We Refused to Die
My time as a prisoner of war in Bataan and Japan, 1942-1945
Gene S Jacobsen
University of Utah Press, 2004
Gene Jacobsen was a nineteen-year-old Idaho ranch kid when he decided to join the Army Air Corps in September 1940. By December 1941 he was supply sergeant for the Twentieth Pursuit Squadron at Clark Field in the Philippines. Five months later he was a captive of the Imperial Japanese Army, enduring the Bataan death march and subsequent horrors in the Philippines and Japan. Of the 207 officers and men who made up Jacobsen’s squadron at the beginning of the war, sixty-five survived to return to the United States. We Refused to Die recounts Jacobsen’s struggle, against all odds, to remain one of those sixty-five men.

In engaging, direct prose, Jacobsen’s three-and-a-half year experience as a prisoner of war takes the reader on a brutal and harrowing march through hatred and forgiveness, fortitude and freedom. We Refused to Die is an honest memoir that shines light on one of history’s darkest moments.
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When God Looked the Other Way
An Odyssey of War, Exile, and Redemption
Wesley Adamczyk
University of Chicago Press, 2004
Often overlooked in accounts of World War II is the Soviet Union's quiet yet brutal campaign against Polish citizens, a campaign that included, we now know, war crimes for which the Soviet and Russian governments only recently admitted culpability. Standing in the shadow of the Holocaust, this episode of European history is often overlooked. Wesley Adamczyk's gripping memoir, When God Looked the Other Way, now gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of victims of Soviet barbarism.

Adamczyk was a young Polish boy when he was deported with his mother and siblings from their comfortable home in Luck to Soviet Siberia in May of 1940. His father, a Polish Army officer, was taken prisoner by the Red Army and eventually became one of the victims of the Katyn massacre, in which tens of thousands of Polish officers were slain at the hands of the Soviet secret police. The family's separation and deportation in 1940 marked the beginning of a ten-year odyssey in which the family endured fierce living conditions, meager food rations, chronic displacement, and rampant disease, first in the Soviet Union and then in Iran, where Adamczyk's mother succumbed to exhaustion after mounting a harrowing escape from the Soviets. Wandering from country to country and living in refugee camps and the homes of strangers, Adamczyk struggled to survive and maintain his dignity amid the horrors of war.

When God Looked the Other Way is a memoir of a boyhood lived in unspeakable circumstances, a book that not only illuminates one of the darkest periods of European history but also traces the loss of innocence and the fight against despair that took root in one young boy. It is also a book that offers a stark picture of the unforgiving nature of Communism and its champions. Unflinching and poignant, When God Looked the Other Way will stand as a testament to the trials of a family during wartime and an intimate chronicle of episodes yet to receive their historical due.

“Adamczyk recounts the story of his own wartime childhood with exemplary precision and immense emotional sensitivity, presenting the ordeal of one family with the clarity and insight of a skilled novelist. . . . I have read many descriptions of the Siberian odyssey and of other forgotten wartime episodes. But none of them is more informative, more moving, or more beautifully written than When God Looked the Other Way.”—From the Foreword by Norman Davies, author of Europe: A History and Rising ’44: The Battle for Warsaw
 
“A finely wrought memoir of loss and survival.”—Publishers Weekly

“Adamczyk’s unpretentious prose is well-suited to capture that truly awful reality.” —Andrew Wachtel, Chicago Tribune Books 

“Mr. Adamczyk writes heartfelt, straightforward prose. . . . This book sheds light on more than one forgotten episode of history.”—Gordon Haber, New York Sun 

“One of the most remarkable World War II sagas I have ever read. It is history with a human face.”—Andrew Beichman, Washington Times 

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