This is one of my favorite kinds of history books- it's basically a book of primary sources with some short context/explanatory essays. It includes or...moreThis is one of my favorite kinds of history books- it's basically a book of primary sources with some short context/explanatory essays. It includes oral histories, poetry, artwork, official documents, diaries and excerpts from memoirs of people who were affected by the Japanese Internment during World War II. Most of the material is from Japanese Americans, but there are accounts from people who worked in the camps, from people who were not Japanese, but were also arrested or interned, and from those of Japanese ancestry who fought in WWII. It's part of a story that most Americans haven't been told in any sort of detail and this is a very accessible way of telling that story. I highly recommend it to everyone. (less)
Interesting book, possibly out of date at this point, as it was written in 1999, but given the emphasis on standardized testing in American education,...moreInteresting book, possibly out of date at this point, as it was written in 1999, but given the emphasis on standardized testing in American education, perhaps not. My only real issue is that it is very dense and has a large amount of statistical information that was difficult to wade through. I would have preferred more personal stories as opposed to statistics, but that's a personal bias of mine. (less)
It started out a little bit slow and it is sometimes difficult to keep track of all of the people involved, but it was very interesting and a detailed...moreIt started out a little bit slow and it is sometimes difficult to keep track of all of the people involved, but it was very interesting and a detailed account of one of the important aspects of the Civil Rights Movement. (less)
I was a little wary of this book, because "white studies" can sometimes be code for, let's say, unsavory things. But this book is far from that. It's...moreI was a little wary of this book, because "white studies" can sometimes be code for, let's say, unsavory things. But this book is far from that. It's slightly sympathetic to the fact that the Civil Rights Movement changed life drastically for *everyone* in the South, both black and white, but it's not sympathetic to racist beliefs. It's not condescending to them, either- most images we have of white people during the Civil Rights Movement is that they were deluded or violently against civil rights. And yes, many people were against integration in any form and they did hold beliefs that were delusions (i.e., that black people were perfectly happy under Jim Crow). But, there were also a significant proportion of white people who just went with the changes without a fight. They may not have been proponents of civil rights, but when change came, they changed with it.
This is a story that has not been told. The book covers some of the usual story arc of whites during the Civil Rights Movement (i.e., Bull Connor, George Wallace, others who reacted violently to the idea of integration), but it also tells the story of people who may not have *wanted* integration, but accepted it as inevitable and accepted it with a reasonable amount of grace. It raised questions that I had not considered. For instance, if you were a white parent when schools were being integrated, and there were other white parents who were vociferously against integration, to the point of forming mobs at the schools and shouting or hurling things at kids who went into those schools (both black *and* white), do you keep your kids home? Do you send them to school even though they have to walk through that mob? Do you send them, even if it means you'll have rocks thrown at your house and harassing phone calls that the police won't do anything about? Even if it means you may lose your job or be forced to move away? What do you do in that situation? Some parents did send their kids and their kids faced a fair amount of pressure. Some parents looked at the situation, and even if they personally did not have a problem with integration, they kept their kids home out of fears for their safety. Having read about what happened to families that did send their kids to the first integrated schools, I'm not wholly sure I blame the parents who decided to keep their kids home (I do blame the people who formed the mobs and did the harassing, though).
In other words, the Civil Rights Movement was complicated for everyone and this book demonstrates that aptly. It was an interesting read and I'd recommend it. (less)
It is an interesting book, but it's about 20 years old and I kept wanting updated information, particularly since I did my secondary and university sc...moreIt is an interesting book, but it's about 20 years old and I kept wanting updated information, particularly since I did my secondary and university schooling after the book was written and it doesn't quite match my experience, so I wanted to see if that's just a function of where I'm from and where I went to school combined with my particular personality, or if there had been advances in educational experience since the book was written. I have so much else on my list to read that I decided to just let this one drop. (less)