On February 19, 1942, following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and Japanese Army successes in the Pacific, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a fateful order. In the name of security, Executive Order 9066 allowed for the summary removal of Japanese aliens and American citizens of Japanese descent from their West Coast homes and their incarceration under guard in camps. Amid the numerous histories and memoirs devoted to this shameful event, FDR's contributions have been seen as negligible. Now, using Roosevelt's own writings, his advisors' letters and diaries, and internal government documents, Greg Robinson reveals the president's central role in making and implementing the internment and examines not only what the president did but why.
Robinson traces FDR's outlook back to his formative years, and to the early twentieth century's racialist view of ethnic Japanese in America as immutably "foreign" and threatening. These prejudicial sentiments, along with his constitutional philosophy and leadership style, contributed to Roosevelt's approval of the unprecedented mistreatment of American citizens. His hands-on participation and interventions were critical in determining the nature, duration, and consequences of the administration's internment policy.
By Order of the President attempts to explain how a great humanitarian leader and his advisors, who were fighting a war to preserve democracy, could have implemented such a profoundly unjust and undemocratic policy toward their own people. It reminds us of the power of a president's beliefs to influence and determine public policy and of the need for citizen vigilance to protect the rights of all against potential abuses.
I have listened to audiobooks for years and, sadly, this was the most difficult to get through. It was written like a research paper but an 11 hour one. I would not do it again.
Would you listen to By Order of the President again? Why?
maybe i would, to examine the fine details
Who was your favorite character and why?
FDR, the complexity of his role.
What does R.C. Bray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Japanese Americans internment
Any additional comments?
This book opens the view to FDR relation with the Japanese Americans and Japanese Americans internment during the second world war.
The early chapter describe the early years of FDR and how his relation with the Navy, his uncle, president Theodor Roosevelt, and other oriental friends shaped his view of the Japanese Americans community.
Later in the book, the internment itself is discussed. It is very enlisting to see his connection to the security needs from one side, the political pressures he had to endure regarding the internment and his own racial views. The books also show a bit of the tight connection between FDR and his wife Eleanor. How her more human rights side effected his own.
To conclude – very enlightening book.