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Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten camps where over 110,000 Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in California's Owens Valley between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, it is approximately 230 miles (370 km) northeast of Los Angeles. Manzanar (which means "apple orchard" in Spanish) was identified by the United States National Park Service as the best-preserved of the former camp sites, and was designated the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Manzanar has become an iconic cautionary tale of the misuse of power by racists in high positions within the American government. It was thought that the lesson of Manzanar had been learned, until 2018 when President Donald Trump revived the same basic concept for his "ICE" detention camps.

Manzanar in Days of Infamy[]

After Japan declared war on the United States, all Japanese Americans living on the mainland were rounded up by the government and transported to camps like Manzanar. The Japanese propaganda ministry had thundered loudly about this to the citizens of Occupied Hawaii. Kenzo Takahashi had contemplated trying to sail from Hawaii to California, but changed his mind after he realized that maybe the Japanese were telling the truth about the internment.[1]

Manzanar in "Powerless"[]

Manzanar was one of the most feared prison camps in the West Coast People's Democratic Republic. National Bureau of Investigation agent Rasmussen told the troublesome Charlie Simpkins that if he'd had his way, Simpkins would be on his way to Manzanar. When Simpkins calmly asked Rasmussen why he wasn't already there, Rasmussen stated that his lieutenant thought Simpkins was powerless.[2]


  1. End of the Beginning, pg. 129, paperback.
  2. Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction September/October, 2018, ebook.