86 books like Heart Mountain

By Gretel Ehrlich,

Here are 86 books that Heart Mountain fans have personally recommended if you like Heart Mountain. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II

Saara Kekki Author Of Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain: Networks, Power, and Everyday Life

From my list on really feeling the everyday life of the Japanese American community.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having encountered Japanese American incarceration as an undergraduate student, I was perplexed at how distant so many of the narratives were. How could such a large-scale forced removal in recent history seem like it happened “somewhere else?” This started my never-ending yearning to really understand and feel how these camps operated as communities. I have little doubt that this could happen again in the United States and Canada or elsewhere, so it’s my passion to keep educating people both in my home country of Finland and North America about the underlying dynamics leading to incarceration. 

Saara's book list on really feeling the everyday life of the Japanese American community

Saara Kekki Why did Saara love this book?

This book features Bill Manbo’s original photographs from the Heart Mountain incarceration camp, weaved in with the historical narrative of the camp and the time period.

What is remarkable about the photos is that they are not part of government propaganda but depictions of everyday events by an amateur photographer. Moreover, inmates weren’t supposed to have cameras in camp, so Manbo’s photos are also an act of resistance.

Since I’m always on a quest to really “feel” history, I love how these photos bring me that much closer to the people and the place. Eric Muller and others’ writings provide useful contextualization to both the art and the era. 

By Eric L. Muller (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Colors of Confinement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1942, Bill Manbo and his family were forced from their Hollywood home into the Japanese American internment camp at Heart Mountain in Wyoming. While there, Manbo documented both the bleakness and beauty of his surroundings, using Kodachrome film, a technology then just seven years old, to capture community celebrations and to record his family's struggle to maintain a normal life under the harsh conditions of racial imprisonment. Colors of Confinement showcases sixty-five stunning images from this extremely rare collection of color photographs, presented along with three interpretive essays by leading scholars and a reflective, personal essay by a former…


Book cover of Japanese Americans: The Formation and Transformations of an Ethnic Group

Saara Kekki Author Of Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain: Networks, Power, and Everyday Life

From my list on really feeling the everyday life of the Japanese American community.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having encountered Japanese American incarceration as an undergraduate student, I was perplexed at how distant so many of the narratives were. How could such a large-scale forced removal in recent history seem like it happened “somewhere else?” This started my never-ending yearning to really understand and feel how these camps operated as communities. I have little doubt that this could happen again in the United States and Canada or elsewhere, so it’s my passion to keep educating people both in my home country of Finland and North America about the underlying dynamics leading to incarceration. 

Saara's book list on really feeling the everyday life of the Japanese American community

Saara Kekki Why did Saara love this book?

I read this book after having already read dozens of books on Japanese American history and immediately felt that this was the one book that one truly needs to read.

Spickard not only explains and interprets on behalf of the community but also really seeks to understand how and why the Japanese Americans became the type of ethnic community they are.

More importantly, this book doesn’t only focus on the surface story of the racism that led to incarceration but delves much deeper into race relations, including those between Japanese Americans and other minorities.  

By Paul R. Spickard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Japanese Americans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since 1855, nearly a half a million Japanese immigrants have settled in the United States, the majority arriving between 1890 and 1924 during the great wave of immigration to Hawai'i and the mainland. Today, more than one million Americans claim Japanese ancestry. They came to study and to work, and found jobs as farm laborers, cannery workers, and railroad workers. Many settled permanently, formed communities, and sent for family members in Japan. While they worked hard, established credit associations and other networks, and repeatedly distinguished themselves as entrepreneurs, they also encountered harsh discrimination. Nowhere was this more evident than on…


Book cover of Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment

Saara Kekki Author Of Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain: Networks, Power, and Everyday Life

From my list on really feeling the everyday life of the Japanese American community.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having encountered Japanese American incarceration as an undergraduate student, I was perplexed at how distant so many of the narratives were. How could such a large-scale forced removal in recent history seem like it happened “somewhere else?” This started my never-ending yearning to really understand and feel how these camps operated as communities. I have little doubt that this could happen again in the United States and Canada or elsewhere, so it’s my passion to keep educating people both in my home country of Finland and North America about the underlying dynamics leading to incarceration. 

Saara's book list on really feeling the everyday life of the Japanese American community

Saara Kekki Why did Saara love this book?

Another powerful collection of photographs, this book shows us the images by the famous photographer Dorothea Lange.

The War Relocation Authority (a civilian agency that ran the 10 civilian incarceration camps) hired Lange to “document” life in the camps. They were expecting to receive material that would be useful as propaganda, that would prove to the outside world that the conditions were decent and inmates happy. What they got instead were depictions of harsh conditions and institutionalization. Therefore, many of Lange’s photos were never published until this volume.

Where Billy Manbo’s photos showed us an inmate’s perspective, Lange’s photos can be read as a wordless attempt to criticize the government.

By Linda Gordon (editor), Gary Y. Okihiro (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Impounded as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Censored by the U.S. Army, Dorothea Lange's unseen photographs are the extraordinary photographic record of the Japanese American internment saga. This indelible work of visual and social history confirms Dorothea Lange's stature as one of the twentieth century's greatest American photographers. Presenting 119 images originally censored by the U.S. Army-the majority of which have never been published-Impounded evokes the horror of a community uprooted in the early 1940s and the stark reality of the internment camps. With poignancy and sage insight, nationally known historians Linda Gordon and Gary Okihiro illuminate the saga of Japanese American internment: from life before Executive…


Book cover of Free to Die for Their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II

Saara Kekki Author Of Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain: Networks, Power, and Everyday Life

From my list on really feeling the everyday life of the Japanese American community.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having encountered Japanese American incarceration as an undergraduate student, I was perplexed at how distant so many of the narratives were. How could such a large-scale forced removal in recent history seem like it happened “somewhere else?” This started my never-ending yearning to really understand and feel how these camps operated as communities. I have little doubt that this could happen again in the United States and Canada or elsewhere, so it’s my passion to keep educating people both in my home country of Finland and North America about the underlying dynamics leading to incarceration. 

Saara's book list on really feeling the everyday life of the Japanese American community

Saara Kekki Why did Saara love this book?

Much of the general public knows the great performance of the segregated Nisei (2nd generation Japanese American) unit in World War II, but few are still familiar with the Nisei draft resisters.

Eric Muller’s book tells the story of these men, who were drafted from incarceration camps—and then imprisoned in federal prisons for refusing to serve. Over 80 of these resisters came from Heart Mountain, where they had organized around a group called the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee, but men from other camps also resisted. Their message was unanimous: they love the United States but will not serve before their families are freed.

By Eric L. Muller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Free to Die for Their Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1942, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese Americans into detainment camps on suspicion of disloyalty. Two years later, the government demanded even more, drafting them into the same military that had been guarding them as subversives. Most of these Americans complied, but "Free to Die for Their Country" is the first book to tell the powerful story of those who refused. Based on years of research and personal interviews, Eric L. Muller recreates the emotions and events that followed the arrival of those draft notices revealing a dark and complex chapter of America's history.


Book cover of The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America

Jim Noles Author Of Undefeated: From Basketball to Battle: West Point's Perfect Season 1944

From my list on sports during World War II that inspire me.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an “Army brat” who attended five different middle and high schools, graduated from West Point (where I majored in international history), and later attended law school. The law is my profession, but writing is my avocation, and I’ve been fortunate to have several military histories published. I reside in Birmingham, Alabama, with my wife, our youngest son, and two untrained, incorrigible dogs. As far as my latest book is concerned, they like to say at West Point that “the history that we teach was made by people we taught.” In my case, I guess it was “the history I wrote about was made by people wearing the same uniform that I wore.”

Jim's book list on sports during World War II that inspire me

Jim Noles Why did Jim love this book?

The Eagles were a collection of Japanese American youth interned, with their families, at a relocation camp at the base of Heart Mountain, outside of Cody, Wyoming. In the fall of 1943, they embarked upon an undefeated high school football season, although their triumphs were tempered by the injustice of their families’ incarceration and, ironically, the looming threat of the graduating seniors being drafted into the same military that guarded the perimeter of their camp.  Pearson’s is a disturbing, but ultimately uplifting, look at a dark chapter in America’s history.

By Bradford Pearson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Eagles of Heart Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One of Ten Best History Books of 2021.” —Smithsonian Magazine

For fans of The Boys in the Boat and The Storm on Our Shores, this impeccably researched, deeply moving, never-before-told “tale that ultimately stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit” (Garrett M. Graff, New York Times bestselling author) about a World War II incarceration camp in Wyoming and its extraordinary high school football team.

In the spring of 1942, the United States government forced 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes in California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona and sent them to incarceration camps across the West. Nearly…


Book cover of What Did the Internment of Japanese Americans Mean?

Stephanie Hinnershitz Author Of Japanese American Incarceration: The Camps and Coerced Labor During World War II

From my list on Japanese American incarceration.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in central Pennsylvania, I learned little about Japanese American incarceration beyond the brief mention in textbooks. It wasn’t until I came across documents about incarceration camps in Arkansas that I wanted to learn more and spent the next five years exploring this subject. What I took away from my research is that even though confinement in camps only directly affected Japanese Americans, understanding how this tragedy happened is important for all Americans who value democracy. I’m a Senior Historian at the National WWII Museum and work hard to make sure that Japanese American incarceration is included in the larger history of the American home front during the war.

Stephanie's book list on Japanese American incarceration

Stephanie Hinnershitz Why did Stephanie love this book?

The title says it all: This is a book if you want to dig a little deeper into what incarceration meant and means for all Americans. Featuring different, shorter essays by leading scholars on the Japanese American experience during the war, I love this book for its collection of insights from different historians who approach the topic in their own, distinct ways. If you’re short on time and want a quick read on the many angles on incarceration from motivations to experiences to the movement for a formal apology from the US government, this is one to check out.

By Alice Yang Murray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Did the Internment of Japanese Americans Mean? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During World War II, over 120,000 Japanese Americans were removed and confined for four years in 16 camps located throughout the western half of the United States. Yet the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps remains a largely unknown episode of World War II history. In these selections, students are invited to investigate this event, and to review and challenge the conventional interpretations of its significance. They explore the US government's role in planning and carrying out the removal and internment of thousands of citizens, resident aliens and foreign nationals, and the ways in which Japanese Americans coped with…


Book cover of Justice Delayed: The Record of the Japanese American Internment Cases

Marc Dollinger Author Of Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s

From my list on social justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve devoted my academic career and personal life to the limits and possibilities of white liberal approaches to civil rights reform. Trained in U.S. history and published in American Jewish history, I look closely at how ethnic groups and religious minorities interact with their racial and gender status to create a sometimes-surprising perspective on both history and our current day. At times powerful and at other times powerless, Jews (and other white ethnics) navigate a complex course in civil rights advocacy.

Marc's book list on social justice

Marc Dollinger Why did Marc love this book?

Peter Irons, at attorney, investigated the incarceration of US citizens of Japanese descent during World War II. He became so upset that he devoted his own legal career to securing a rare Supreme Court reversal of its infamous Korematsu decision. This book tells that story.

By Peter Irons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Justice Delayed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Details the case of Fred Koremsatsu, a Japanese American arrested in 1942 because of his Japanese ancestry, who in 1982 launched a legal battle to clear his record


Book cover of Looking Like the Enemy

Ken Mochizuki Author Of Michi Challenges History: From Farm Girl to Costume Designer to Relentless Seeker of the Truth: The Life of Michi Nishiura Weglyn

From my list on the Japanese American World War II experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I was born in Seattle after the World War II years, my parents, grandparents, and aunts spent time confined at the Minidoka site, and they very rarely talked about “camp.” During the ‘80s and ‘90s, I worked as a newspaper journalist during the time of the movement to obtain redress, and I heard survivors of the camps talk about it for the first time. My acquired knowledge of the subject led to my first book in 1993, Baseball Saved Us. Since then, the camp experience has become like a longtime acquaintance with whom I remain in constant contact.

Ken's book list on the Japanese American World War II experience

Ken Mochizuki Why did Ken love this book?

But the memoirs didn’t delve into the emotional and psychological impact of the forced removal and incarceration──until this unflinching one from 2005, and it’s another among the best.

Removed along with her family from their farm on Vashon Island, Washington and incarcerated at the Minidoka camp in Idaho, Matsuda Gruenewald, like most of those who underwent this experience, remained silent about what happened to them until she refused to be further confined by “the self-imposed barbed-wire fences built around my experiences in the camps.”

During a 2004 return to the Minidoka site, she wrote about her pilgrimage: “I had been saddled by feelings of paralyzing helplessness for so long. I wondered, Once I open up and start talking, will I also cry? And if I do so, will I be able to stop?”

By Mary Matusda Gruenewald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Looking Like the Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Mary Matsuda is a typical 16-year-old girl living on Vashon Island, Washington with her family. On December 7, 1942, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and Mary's life changes forever. Mary and her brother, Yoneichi, are U.S. citizens, but they are imprisoned, along with their parents, in a Japanese-American internment camp. Mary endures an indefinite sentence behind barbed wire in crowded, primitive camps, struggling for survival and dignity. Mary wonders if they will be killed, or if they will one day return to their beloved home and berry farm. The author tells her story with the passion and spirit of a…


Book cover of When Can We Go Back to America? Voices of Japanese American Incarceration During WWII

Stephanie Hinnershitz Author Of Japanese American Incarceration: The Camps and Coerced Labor During World War II

From my list on Japanese American incarceration.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in central Pennsylvania, I learned little about Japanese American incarceration beyond the brief mention in textbooks. It wasn’t until I came across documents about incarceration camps in Arkansas that I wanted to learn more and spent the next five years exploring this subject. What I took away from my research is that even though confinement in camps only directly affected Japanese Americans, understanding how this tragedy happened is important for all Americans who value democracy. I’m a Senior Historian at the National WWII Museum and work hard to make sure that Japanese American incarceration is included in the larger history of the American home front during the war.

Stephanie's book list on Japanese American incarceration

Stephanie Hinnershitz Why did Stephanie love this book?

If you want to delve into first-hand accounts of what life was like in the incarceration camps, you’ll find a lot of books for that, but you could be overwhelmed in the process. What I like about Kamei’s recent book is that it is a handy compilation of over a hundred engaging, heartbreaking, and inspiring descriptions of incarceration from those who directly experienced and fought against the prejudice that created it. Best of all, you can use this book as a jumping-off point for learning more about any of the individuals you encounter here. 

By Susan H. Kamei,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Can We Go Back to America? Voices of Japanese American Incarceration During WWII as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In this dramatic and page-turning narrative history of Japanese Americans before, during, and after their World War II incarceration, Susan H. Kamei weaves the voices of over 130 individuals who lived through this tragic episode, most of them as young adults.

It's difficult to believe it happened here, in the Land of the Free: After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States government forcibly removed more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from the Pacific Coast and imprisoned them in desolate detention camps until the end of World War II just because of their race.

In what…


Book cover of We Are Not Free

E.L. Shen Author Of The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel

From my list on that perfectly capture Asian American identity.

Why am I passionate about this?

E. L. Shen is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Comeback (Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers) is a Junior Library Guild Selection, received two starred reviews, and was praised for its “fast-paced prose, big emotions, and authentic dialogue” in The New York Times. Her forthcoming young adult novel, The Queens of New York (Quill Tree Books) was won in a six-figure preempt and is scheduled to publish in Summer 2023.  

E.L.'s book list on that perfectly capture Asian American identity

E.L. Shen Why did E.L. love this book?

Told from multiple points of view, this story details the horrific internment of fourteen Japanese American teenagers and their families during the height of World War II. The history of Japanese internment camps is often glazed over in Social Studies classes in favor of celebrating America’s successes in the war, but I was taken by Traci’s unflinching portrait of the teenagers’ lives and choices as they grapple with how to be Asian American in a world that refuses to acknowledge their citizenship and identities. 

By Traci Chee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Are Not Free as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco.
Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted.
Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps.
In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Japanese Americans, Wyoming, and Japanese internment?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Japanese Americans, Wyoming, and Japanese internment.

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