Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America

Feldman, Jay. Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America. Pantheon Books, New York, 2011. (Chapters nine and ten deal with WWII internment/relocation programs.)

In this wide-ranging history, Jay Feldman takes us from the run-up to World War I and its anti-German hysteria through the September 11 attacks and Arizona’s current anti-immigration movement. What we see is a striking pattern of elected officials and private citizens alike using the American people’s fears and prejudices to isolate minorities, silence dissent, and stem the growth of civil rights and liberties. Whether it’s the post-World War I persecution of radicals; the Depression-era deportations of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans; the World War II internment of 112,000 ethnic Japanese along with thousands of German and Italian aliens; the Cold War campaigns against Communists, gays, and civil-rights activists; or the Vietnam-era COINTELPRO operations, we see how economic, military, and political crises have been used to curtail the rights of supposedly subversive minorities. Rather than treating this history as a series of discrete moments, Feldman shows how these tendencies have been part of a continuous vein that runs through American life, and gives us a potent reminder of how, even in America, democracy and civil liberties are never guaranteed.–From publisher description.

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