Authors & Asia: The Train to Crystal City

Authors & Asia: <i>The Train to Crystal City</i>

Author photo by Eileen Thurman Jan Jarboe Russell

Everyone who passed elementary school history knows the United States interned Japanese people in West Coast camps during World War II, but few remember that Texas has its own dark history of internment. Asia Society Texas Center hopes to change all that with its next Authors & Asia event, focusing on The Train to Crystal City and author Jan Jarboe Russell. In a discussion of her book, Russell will take us through the history of two young women who lived in Texas’s very own WWII internment camp in Crystal City, where a total of 6,000 German, Japanese and Italian immigrants were housed. Over the course of the war, families in the camp — including American-born children — were traded for Americans behind enemy lines, Russell says, calling the camp “the center of President Roosevelt’s prisoner exchange policy.”

3 to 4:30 p.m. October 16. 1370 Southmore. For information, call 713-496-9901 or visit asiasociety.org/texas. Free with reservation.

[Organizer's description:]Asia Society Texas Center partners with the Harris County Public Library's Gulf Coast Reads program to offer a conversation with Jan Jarboe Russell about her book The Train to Crystal City. The book chronicles the true story of two families interned in Crystal City, Texas and their attempts to return to the US after being part of a prisoner exchange program.

Books will be available for purchase on-site from Brazos Bookstore.

About the Author

Jan Jarboe Russell is a former Neiman Fellow, a contributing editor at Texas Monthly, and has written for the San Antonio Express-News, The New York Times, Slate, and other magazines. She is the author of Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson and has also compiled and edited They Lived to Tell the Tale.

For the past four years, Russell has been at work writing The Train to Crystal City, which tells the story of a secret World War II internment camp that was located in Crystal City, Texas. From 1942 to 1948, thousands of German, Japanese and Italian immigrants and their children, many of them born in America, lived behind barbed wire in the 290-acre camp located at the southern tip of Texas, approximately 35 miles from the Mexican border.

About Harris County Public Library's Gulf Coast Reads Program

Gulf Coast Reads: On the Same Page is an annual regional reading initiative focused on promoting the simultaneous reading or listening to a selected title by those living along the upper Texas Gulf Coast. The reading initiative’s goal is to encourage our communities to read the same title during the month of October in order to encourage readers to come together in discussions about it with neighbors, co-workers, friends and their families, as well as in classrooms and in libraries throughout the region.
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