Cover image for Double victory : a multicultural history of America in World War II
Double victory : a multicultural history of America in World War II
Takaki, Ronald T., 1939-2009.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown and Co., [2000]

Physical Description:
vi, 282 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D769 .T42 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
D769 .T42 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D769 .T42 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Arguing that many Americans fought in World War II for a double victory--one against fascism abroad, the other against racism at home--the author captures the voices of people who are often overlooked in traditional narratives of the conflict. 15,000 first printing.

Author Notes

Ronald Takaki is a Fellow of the Society of American Historians & a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include "Strangers from a Different Shore" & "A Different Mirror" &, most recently, "A Larger Memory".

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

A Different Mirror (1993) made Takaki, a University of California at Berkeley ethnic studies professor, perhaps the best-known representative of the idea that U.S. history is inevitably multicultural history. Here, Takaki applies this approach to World War II, examining those who fought "not only for victory over fascism abroad but also for victory over prejudice at home." Takaki discusses the experiences of African Americans, Indians, Chicanos, Asian Americans from several nations, German and Italian Americans, and Jewish Americans. In each case, he blends discussion of the humiliations and constraints individuals faced at war and at home with commentary on legislative battles, court cases, and events such as race riots (and zoot suit riots) that affected the debate over which groups are included in our definition of "American." Despite Jim Crow, internment camps, neglected slums, barrios, reservations, and rejection of Jewish refugees, the nation's not-quite-Americans fought bravely in World War II and went on to demand in the decades that followed that their fellow citizens recognize their humanity. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

A significant number of Americans fought WWII on two fronts, according to Berkeley ethicist Takaki (A Larger Memory; A Different Mirror; etc.): the Axis powers were one enemy; the other was racism on the home front. This is by now a conventional argument that Takaki's anecdotal narrative does more to illustrate than to develop, though the book does demonstrate more clearly than ever the degree to which America in the 1940s was a white man's country, as opposed to a melting pot. It shows as well the wartime responses of a variety of ethnic and cultural communitiesÄMexicans, African-Americans, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Jews and Italians. Japanese-Americans get a full chapter to themselves, concluding with an analysis of Hiroshima as a manifestation of racism. Takaki shows how the combination of military service and war work simultaneously opened horizons and raised consciousness. Black women who left white kitchens for assembly lines gained economic autonomy and faced new patterns of racial slights. Mexicans who had spent their lives in barrios found communicating in English essential for the better-paying jobs that opened more rapidly than Anglos could fill them. More significant, however, is the extent to which Takaki's anecdotal evidence challenges a fundamental element of historical multiculturalism: rather than clinging to ethnic identities in response to American involvement in the war, those recorded here asserted their American identity in order to share in the war's patriotic spirit as well as its economic spoils. (The principal exception to this drive for assimilation were the nisei, who even before Pearl Harbor sought to "embrace their twoness" with a greater vehemence than other marginalized ethnic groups.) Takaki compellingly argues that these experiences prefigured the civil rights revolution. This book thus depicts, forcefully and clearly, the first steps toward an America that could be color-neutral. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

America's involvement in World War II highlighted the incongruities of U.S. policy toward its minorities. While America battled Hitler to end his "Final Solution," it arrested, denied citizenship to, and persecuted Native Americans, Koreans, Jews, blacks, and Japanese Americans, some of whom were interned in concentration camps such as Manzanar. These people fought a double war--against the Axis powers and American prejudice. Facing discrimination, they still volunteered for combat, worked in munitions factories, and supported the war effort in countless ways. The postwar era saw major changes in the treatment of minorities, giving birth to social revolutions such as the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Takaki (ethnic studies, Univ. of California, Berkeley; A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America) recounts the war from the minority point of view, detailing how it affected racial policy after the war. The result could have been a dry academic treatise, but Takaki uses countless personal stories (often of one minority person whose prejudiced view of another minority was dispelled after being thrown together with that group) to create a vivid and very readable text. An important book that belongs in both academic and public libraries.--Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The publisher claims that Takaki, by presenting a view of WW II as seen through the eyes of ordinary, diverse Americans, has broken new ground. This is nonsense. The literature of WW II contains a plethora of accounts about the role of women, African Americans, Native Americans, and other "ordinary" Americans. Takaki argues that the war presented a contradiction in that while this country allegedly fought for the preservation of the Four Freedoms, it denied those same freedoms to women and minorities at home and in the military. This, too, is hardly a novel argument. He further asserts that the WW II experience provided the stimulus for the civil rights and women's movements after the war when these same groups insisted that this country live up to the principles for which the conflict was fought. Once more, this argument only confirms what many other studies assert. Takaki's book is based almost entirely on secondary sources, and it has no bibliography. It contains endnotes and photographs. Accessible to general readers and undergraduates, but other, more scholarly accounts, both monographs and general works, do a much better job of presenting the "good war" from the perspectives of minorities and women. R. E. Marcello; University of North Texas

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: A Different Memoryp. 3
2. A Declaration of War: "Double Victory"p. 8
Breaking News: "Everybody Was Glued to the Radio"p. 8
A Day of "Infamy": The Hidden History of Pearl Harborp. 14
Refusing to Live "Half American"p. 19
3. "Bomb the Color Line": The War Against Jim Crowp. 22
"One of the Strangest Paradoxes": A Segregated Army Fights for Democracyp. 23
A Battle Line on the Home Front: "Freedom from Want"p. 38
No "Freedom from Fear" in the Cities: Race Riotsp. 50
4. The Original Americans: From Battlefields to Ceremoniesp. 58
Flashback at Bataan: The Long Walkp. 58
"Why Fight the White Man's War?"p. 59
A Secret Weapon: An Unbreakable Codep. 64
The Indian "Hero" of Iwo Jimap. 72
Ceremony: War Heroes Return to the Reservationp. 78
5. A Dream of El Norte: Crossing the Tracksp. 82
"Americans All": Soldiers of "La Raza"p. 82
An Army of Workers: The Bracero and Rosa the Riveterp. 90
The "Poison Gas" of Nazi Doctrine in Californiap. 102
6. Diversity and Its Discontents: Who Is an American?p. 111
How the Chinese Became "Friends"p. 111
Back to Bataan: Filipino Fighters from Americap. 120
Korean Americans: A War to Free Their Homelandp. 125
India: Passage to Americap. 128
Germans and Italians: "Just Like Everybody Else"p. 131
7. Remembering Pearl Harbor: From Internment to Hiroshimap. 137
Reciting the Gettysburg Address in Plantation Hawaiip. 137
"A Tremendous Hole" in the Constitution: Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066p. 144
Internment: "Huge Dreams" Destroyedp. 149
The Divided Soul of the Nisei Generationp. 157
A Mushroom Cloud: The Black Rain of Prejudicep. 165
8. Struggling for a World of "No Race Prejudice": Jewish Americans and the Holocaustp. 180
"The Horror, the Horror": What Should We Tell the Children?p. 180
"Preferring to Die on My Feet"p. 182
Were They Their Brothers' Keepers?: Jews in Americap. 185
Roosevelt's Rescue-Through-Victory Strategyp. 194
Only a Remnant Remainedp. 206
"Scratches" on the Door: Remember Us, Pleasep. 211
9. A Multicultural "Manifest Destiny": We Are "Not a Narrow Tribe"p. 216
A Rising Wind: Toward the Civil Rights Revolutionp. 216
A "Ceremony" for America: Remembrance of the Warp. 229
Notesp. 237
Acknowledgmentsp. 271
Indexp. 273