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Regional books: “Forced Out,” “Women’s Bank” and more

Regional books of note this month:

“Forced Out,” by Judy Y. Kawamoto (University Press of Colorado)

Forced Out (University Press of Colorado)

In the anti-Japanese hysteria of World War II, tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans, the majority of them U.S. citizens, were forced from their West Coast homes and sent to relocation camps.  A much smaller number, fewer than 5,000, were voluntarily relocated. That means they were required to move inland but were not incarcerated in camps.

Those families had the freedom to move about, to take jobs, to establish businesses and farms in the interior of the country. Still, it wasn’t easy, writes Judy U. Kawamoto. Young Judy and her family were outsiders in their own land, often treated as aliens. They lacked the cultural closeness of the Japanese in the camps. Even after the war, Yamamoto felt out of place because she had not shared the wartime experience.

“Forced Out” is an autobiography of essays about Yamamoto’s life during the war and into adulthood. It’s also a growing-up tale of a young girl who has always considered herself apart.

At the beginning of the war, the Yamamotos left the West Coast for Sheridan, Wyo., where the father had grown up.  Even old friends were suspicious of him, and he couldn’t get a job. He tried hardscrabble farming in Montana and Wyoming. Even with the help of farmhands — German POWs — he couldn’t make a go of the farm and eventually moved his family to Denver.

The family did not dwell on its misfortune. “Their task was just to do it,” writes Yamamota, a psychotherapist, who gives an insight into Japanese culture. She tells how, as a college student, she turned down the offer of a

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