Impounded by Linda Gordon


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 Gord...

Details Impounded

Release DateNov 17th, 2006
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
GenreHistory, Art, Photography, Nonfiction, War, World War II, Historical

Reviews Impounded

  • David Schaafsma
    Of course we know Dorothea Lange’s work best through her incredible photographs of the Great Depression: I did not know until I read this book, Impounded, is that she had taken an equal number of photographs of African Americans during that time, but in public exhibitions and publications that these photographs had been largely suppressed. I was not surprised to hear this, given our history, but I was...
  • Leslie Shimotakahara
    Over the past few weeks, I’ve had archive fever. I’ve been reading a pile of history books on the Japanese Internment. I’m looking to gain insight into what my grandparents experienced as internees as part of my attempt to write an historical novel, centred on a secret romance in one of the camps. The idea is loosely based on snippets of stories and half-disclosures that my grandmother let slip over the years, giving me certain ideas (fanta...
  • sdw
    This book contains many of Dorothea Lange’s photographs of Japanese internment along with an essay contextualizing Lange’s work by Linda Gordon and an essay contextualizing internment and Japanese American history by Gary Y. Okhiro. The photographs are through the WSA and are in the public domain but they were impounded through the duration of the war. I recognized several of the more famous images from the books I have read about internment ...
  • Katie/Doing Dewey
    A really moving collection of photos with thoughtful commentary.
  • Jenny
    In all honesty, I did not read all of the text...I skimmed some of it and then spent my time looking at the photographs taken by Dorothea Lange. It wasn't that the text wasn't interesting...just that too many books arrived at the library at about the same time, and this is a busy time of year for me as school is starting. But the photographs are spectacular. By spectacular, I mean that they impacted me. A few brought tears to my eyes (such as see...
  • Mariko
    Incredibly powerful. My own grandparents were interned but they have very few pictures of that time, especially not of keenly critical points in daily life (poor living conditions, etc.). It was moving to see even a small glimpse of what things really would have been like for them.
  • Matt
    This book is straightforward, simple, and powerful. Gordon and Okihiro do an excellent job assigning context to Lange’s photographs without over-analyzing her work for the reader. They rightly let the images speak for themselves and allow the reader to be affected in whatever way their own history influences them. Okihiro gives a brief but nevertheless powerful treatment of the deep seated anti-Japanese racism that extended for decades before P...
  • Bruce Cline
    I started this book with considerable excitement and, while it was good, it was not nearly as powerful as I had anticipated, and not because of the text. The first 80 pages is an abbreviated history of Dorothea Lange and her photography that contains interesting information about her extensive photography of the Great Depression that made her famous: It also sets the scene for the racist policies leading to Japanese Americans being placed in conc...
  • Mark Soone
    In reality I found this to be a 2 star book (just OK), but since it dealt with such a lergely neglected area of our nation's history I felt compelled to give it 3 just for recognizing and addressing it.During WW II, over 100,000 Japanese Americans, many of whom were citizens, were forced from thier homes and made to live out the remainder of the war under armed guard in concentration camps. The first 60+ pages only contained about 10 pictures (st...
  • David
    book: Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment] by Dorothea Lange, Linda Gordon (Editor), Gary Okihiro (Editor) presents 119 images originally censored by the US military. Lange successfully and powerfully illuminates the complete saga of the Japanese Americans who experienced the windswept internment camps.While the authors give a great deal of context and facts of the horrific conditions and the illeg...
  • Sarah Crawford
    The book is a series of photos by Dorothea Lange, photos that were held by the government for years and not published. A chapter goes over Lange's personal history and her involvement with the internment camps. She was personally strongly opposed to the camps.Another chapter goes over the history of the interment. It's an extremely good chapter.After those two written portions, then the pictures start. The first section is before the evacuation. ...
  • Frederic
    For anyone not very familiar with the history and photography of the Japanese-American internment camps this would be a great introduction, and for that audience I'd rate it considerably higher. But for those who already know the history, and the collections of photographs and other documentation, it doesn't offer a lot that will be new. It's great to have so many of the photographs together in one place, but they're printed fairly small; it's al...
  • Phoebe
    Two pithy essays on Lange and her work introduce this substantial book, which features 119 photographs Lange took in California internment camps. Many of the pictures were never published, since Lange was hired by the War Relocation Authority to document the process of internment. Her access was not carte blanche and so it is expected that some of the worst realities were never documented, but even so, her photographs are both fascinating and chi...
  • Louise Pare-Lobinske
    I have never been fond of this period in American history. As a child, I asked in class about the inconsistency of Americans freeing other people from concentration camps while maintaining camps for Japanese. I was informed, "[The Japanese camp] was an internment camp. There's a difference." This answer left me puzzled (what was the difference?), but I didn't push it. Well, this book is a good way to face that period and learn about it, and maybe...
  • Mrs. Roy
    Found this one at our school's library as I was walking out of 6th grade lab...wish I'd walked on by. I loved the photographs in this book (by famous depression-era photog Dorothea Lange), and I feel as though they educated me on the Internment, but the author was very opinionated in her description of it. One thing I've learned from my husband the journalist - some events are so horrible that they speak for themselves. The Japanese Internment de...
  • Abby
    Excellent book about Dorothea Lange's documentation of the Japanese-American internment evacuation and camp experience during World War II. This book includes both an excellent summary of Lange's background and work and a similarly compelling (and instructive) summary of Japanese American immigration and the events that led up to Executive Order 9066. I only wish there had been more discussion about the specific stories behind the pictures, both ...
  • Sarah
    Really simple, fascinating book. It's about 80 pages of text with background on Dorothea Lange and the history of Japanese internment, and then the rest is photographs. The info is concise and interesting, and the photographs are stunning. I usually return books bought for school at the end of the class, but I think I'll keep this one. It's definitely worth checking out if you have any interest in American 20th century history or in Dorothea Lang...
  • Colleen
    This is a must-read for people like “J”, whom I encountered a couple of years ago at my local library and who claimed that the whole internment process was actually a good thing for Japanese-Canadians because it gave them a few years to sit back and enjoy life, like at a summer camp. My head nearly exploded when she said that. I hope my verbal attack gave her something to think about.There are two essays included in the book but, as always, i...
  • Julie
    Heartbreakingly honest images of the Japanese Americans were interned starting in 1942. Lange couldn’t help but capture what the camps were truly like (leading to these photos being confiscated) and what these people suffered and lost, yet did the best they could in such circumstances. Their businesses, homes, cars, and belongings were not returned to them nor were they given compensation afterwards. It’s just hard to fathom!
  • RuthAnn
    Would recommendSimilar to when I read Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, I paid more attention to the photos than the text, but the impact is powerful. The photos are beautiful and heartbreaking, and everyone should at least leaf through this book to remember that Americans put other Americans in camps out of racism and fear.
  • Pat Carson
    What did we do to American citizens in World War II? We put the Japanese Americans in concentration camps. Lange's images show part of the story of the Japanese American's confinement in the continental United States. Gary Okihiro's essay into the history of the confinement in the continental US and Hawaii will be an eye opener to many. I'd like to see high school students read this.
  • Michelle
    Excerpt -- On Life During InternmentDust. Mud. Ugliness. Terrible food -- definitely not Japanese -- doled onto plates from large garbage cans. Nothing to do. Lines for breakfast, lines for lunch, lines for supper, lines for mail, lines for the canteen, lines for laundry tubs, lines for toilets. The most common activity is waiting.
  • Gayle
    I really liked this book--probably because I enjoy her style of photography and the subject matter went along with a book club book I read (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.) Not a lot of text--mostly images. I'd love to photograph people in the intriguing way she does one day!
  • Sandra VonniessenApplebee
    I thought the pictures were enlightening about the conditions in which they lived. There was not a whole lot of history about the event itself, nor follow up on what happened to those interned after their release - I had heard that many did not return to where they were before. The whole situation is another sad mark on our history of decisions based on fear and lack of understanding.
  • Randy
    It's an examination of some of the least known documentary photographs taken in 1942-43 by Dorothea Lange of the roundup and incarceration of more than 100,000 American citizens of Japanese descent. Wonderful, poignant images taken for the WRA and hidden away in the National Archives for the past 70 years or so. Great read and wonderfully telling images.
  • Magda
    'The Depression gave rise to several programs of deporting or "repatriating" at least two of these "alien" groups, Mexicans and Filipinos. These policies were part of American populism too.''Lange did not make pictures of Japanese people who were unbeautiful or unconventional or down-and-out, and this self-censorship was characteristic of all her photography.'
  • Brigid
    Oh how I wish it were fiction, but no, our country did indeed inter so many people who'd come to the US to lead successful lives. Dorothea Lange's photos, as they always do, captivate the reader and hold him/her in that time period.
  • Suzanne
    A picture can be worth more than a thousand words-- it can be worth a thousand years. This powerful collection of photos that were impounded by the US govt show life before & during Japanese internment. It is painful but necessary & informative. We must never forget.
  • Cassandra Spencer
    This unique collection of important photography is valuable not only a visual memory of the one of the blackest marks in American history, Japanese internment, but also as a rare insight into the background of Dorothea Lange's life and influences.
  • Anastasia
    This largely photo-based book blew me away. Lange's images really taught me a lot about the internment of Japanese Americans in 1942. Heartbreaking, enraging, unbelievable. It includes text from the two authors that enhances one's understanding of the issues.