Reviews of   The Colonel and the Pacifist

Kai Bird Roger Daniels Gary Y. Okihiro
Sandra C. Taylor BH, Inkslinger John Hughes
Wes Sasaki-Uemura Richard Melzer Momoko Murakami
Erika Kuhlman Dennis Lythgoe Masumi Izumi
Chizu Omori

Kai Bird

Klancy Clark de Nevers’s portrait of Karl R Bendetsen, “the U.S. Army colonel who was intimately responsible for incarcerating some 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II” is a chilling tale of mendacity and crass ambition. de Nevers’s insightful history of this dark story is a painful reminder of how ignorance and war hysteria made it possible for one man to trample on the Constitution of these United States. In the post-9/11 era, this story should serve as a cautionary tale for all Americans.

Kai Bird,
     Author of
     The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy &
    William Bundy, Brothers in Arms
    The Chairman: John J. McCloy & the
    Making of the American Establishment

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Roger Daniels

From the Foreword to The Colonel and the Pacifist: Karl Bendetsen, Perry Saito and the Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II

The result [of de Nevers’ research] is a gripping and sometimes surprising story that links Saito and Bendetsen in what was a national tragedy. Much of the book’s power comes from the fact that it focuses on a few American lives. It is particularly appropriate to reconsider this aspect of the Japanese American experience at a time when another group of American ethnics, the Muslim community with foreign roots, is under suspicion of disloyalty.

Roger Daniels,
    Charles Phelps Taft,
    Professor Emeritus of History
    University of Cincinnati

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Gary Y. Okihiro

The Colonel and the Pacifist is a fascinating and engaging account of divergent lives marked by a singular event–World War II–and their choices exercised in shaping the course and writing of history. Highly recommended.

Gary Y. Okihiro,
     Professor of International and Public Affairs,
     Director, Center for the Study of Ethnicity
     and Race, Columbia University
     Author of
     The Columbia Guide to
     Asian American History

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Sandra C. Taylor

This book is a significant contribution to American history and Japanese American studies. . . [Its] importance lies in its subject matter: Bendetsen’s life has not been the subject of scholarly investigation. The stories of the Japanese Americans bring to life the very real people who [bore] the brunt of the racism [which was a] legacy of the history of Nikkei in the US as well as the impact of Pearl Harbor. The fact that there were no incidents of sabotage by the Japanese Americans is important, because many people on the West Coast . . . still believe that many were traitors. . . [The Colonel and the Pacifist] covers an important period of American history, from the thirties and forties to the present and it does so in a lively and provocative fashion.

Sandra C. Taylor,
     Author of
     Jewel of the Desert:
     Japanese American Internment at Topaz

     Vietnamese Women at War

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BH, Inkslinger

de Nevers has done a remarkable job of tying [the lives of Karl Bendetsen and Perry Saito] together and presenting a picture as horrific as the times they lived through. That Saito did so with grace and Bendetsen with duplicity and denial speaks to their individual characters.

     King’s English Bookshop

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John Hughes

[de Nevers is] a painstaking researcher and talented storyteller. [She] pulls no punches, but anyone who accuses her of exercising politically correct hindsight will have ignored the facts she has documented so well. . . . The Colonel and The Pacifist . . . . has special relevance to the present in light of the ongoing debate over civil liberties, domestic and foreign, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq.

The Colonel and The Pacifist is a breakthrough in World War II scholarship — a tale of two star-crossed lives rooted on the Harbor, told with the added advantage of someone who grew up in Aberdeen during World War II.

John Hughes,
     Editor & Publisher,
     The Daily World,
     Aberdeen, WA

Click here to read the full review published in the Aberdeen Daily World

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Wes Sasaki-Uemura

This work makes one realize that even people who were not in highest positions of power exerted considerable influence in the process – even when they denied it. Ultimately, one of the author’s key concerns is the question of taking responsibility as the first step to reconciliation.

Wes Sasaki-Uemura,
     Professor of History, University of Utah

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Richard Melzer

Klancy Clark de Nevers has broken new ground by using new sources and new perspectives to contrast the vastly different wartime experiences of two men caught up in a truly national tragedy. . . . [the book is an] astute, revealing, and valuable contribution to Japanese relocation history.

Richard Melzer,
     University of New Mexico,
     Valencia Campus,
     In The Journal of American History

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Momoko Murakami

The Colonel and the Pacifist is a valuable resource. . . . Karl R. Bendetsen is fleshed out. . . . [regarding Perry Saito] the matter becomes a little more personal since our paths crossed in Chicago. [de Nevers] provides a rich background tapestry against which Karl Robin Bendetsen and Perry Hitoshi Saito played out the dramas of their lives.

Momoko Murakami,
     Kamai Forum,
     Los Angeles

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Erika Kuhlman

Paralleling the lives of two men on opposing sides of one of the most perplexing and complicated episodes in American history is an effective means of reopening the debate over causes and casualties of Japanese internment. De Nevers’s provocative and insightful book will aid in that process.

Erika Kuhlman,
     Idaho State University
     Pacific Northwest Quarterly

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Dennis Lythgoe

A dense volume, carefully researched and well-supported. . . . The reader will be rewarded for his patience.

Dennis Lythgoe,
     Deseret News,
     Salt Lake City

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Masumi Izumi

The well-researched book . . . . deserves credit for its historical details and findings that attract an academic audience while at the same time providing touching human stories for general readers.

Masumi Izumi,
     Doshisha University,
     Kyoto, Japan

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Chizu Omori

To many Japanese Americans . . . the name Bendetsen casts a dark shadow, for it is this man who had so much to do with the incarceration during World War II.... de Nevers’ fact-filled book is a great read, one of value to anybody who is interested in the internment. Too bad Japanese Americans fell into the clutches of men like General John DeWitt and Karl Bendetsen.

Chizu Omori,
     International Examiner

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