Bernice Archer's comparative study of the experiences of the Western civilians interned by the Japanese in mixed family camps and sexually segregated camps in the Far East, combines a wide variety of conventional and unconventional source material. This includes contemporary War, Foreign and Colonial Office papers, diaries, letters, camp newspapers and artefacts, post-war medical, engineering and educational reports, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs and over fifty oral interviews with ex-internees. Using contemporary personal accounts, the shock of the Japanese victories and the devastating experience of capture are highlighted. This book also covers wider issues such as the role of women in war, gender and war, children and war, colonial culture, oral history, and war and memory.
'By conducting this study, and publishing the book, you have made a
welcome contribution to all of our lives, although you may never hear
of such sentiment. As you probably have appreciated, there is a huge
imbalance in materials available concerning the wartime situation
between Europe and Asia. A lot of archival materials are still
unavailable in Japan, and the British survivors' organization is
still battling the British and Japanese governments and courts for
recognition and restitution. So there are many reasons why I hope
that your publisher does well by you in advertising your volume. You
might push the point with them that there should be a general
audience, as well as academic, that they should attempt to reach.' - ex-internee, Vancouver, Canada
'I have finished reading your book and found it fascinating. It reflects my parents' perspectives and accurately portrays their own roles within the camps and how they endeavoured to maintain as much a degree of normalcy as possible, while attempting to home-make, organize events, teach classes and pursue their own professions. I would be interested in hearing the reactions of others who were adults at the time. I personally remember very little. I was only four when the war ended and any memories I have are all tangled up in the stories I was told.I'm not sure, now, which is which.'
List of Figures and Maps Foreword Acknowledgements Introduction 1. The Prelude to War 2. The Men's Response to Internment 3. The Women's Response to Internment 4. The Children's Response to Internment 5. Conclusion Epilogue Appendix: Notes on the Oral History: Method and Interviewees References Select Bibliography Index