Song of Anger: Tales of Tule Lake
By Barney Shallit. Preface by Naomi Hirahara.
Song of Anger: Tales of Tule Lake is part memoir, part history, part fiction – and all profoundly stirring and illuminating. In this curious ensemble of “war stories,” Barney Shallit evokes his WWII experiences and observations as a Jewish American social worker at the Tule Lake Segregation Center.
Using irony and satire to convey his bittersweet tales set in the barricaded compound where the U.S. government imprisoned so-called “disloyal” Americans of Japanese ancestry, Shallit assays the character of this civil and moral evil and confronts his complicity in it.
In doing so, he provides a robust literary rejoinder to the question that James Matsumoto Omura, Japanese America’s lone dissenter at the 1942 Tolan Committee hearings, had indignantly raised at the grim prospect of mass evacuation and detention for his racial-ethnic community: “Has the Gestapo Come to America?”
First in the Michi Nishiura and Walter Weglyn Multicultural Publication Series. Paper: 122 pp.