“The Train to Crystal City” looks at Texas WWII internment camp

Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell

My grandparents lived in the small Texas town of Crystal City for many years before they passed away. On visits there, I remember taking photos at the Popeye statue claiming the town’s fame as the Spinach Capital of the World and attending the Spinach Festival.

Crystal City’s rich history ranges from helping spark the Chicano rights movement in the 1960s to housing the nation’s only family internment camp. In Austin author Jan Jarboe Russell’s latest book, “The Train to Crystal City,” she takes a look at the “dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret FDR-approved Japanese American internment camp during World War II where thousands of families-many US citizens-were incarcerated.”

Jarboe Russell will present a reading and discussion of “The Train to Crystal City” from 6:30-8 p.m. April 23 at the Asian American Resource Center in Austin. American-Statesman contributor Maurice Chammah recently reviewed the book. Here’s an excerpt:

Russell captures individual heartbreak, the drama of fathers ripped away, the indignity of being treated as an enemy, and the desperation of mothers to reunite even under atrocious conditions. The morality is never as clear-cut as we might want; we feel torn for the daughter of a German immigrant, while also knowing that her Nazi-sympathizing father freely referred to President Roosevelt as “Rosenfeld.”

Check out the complete review here.



Author: Nancy Flores

Nancy Flores is a features writer who covers general assignments including Latino culture for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin360.

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