Author discusses his debut book about WWII incarceration camp with writer Keefe
The impeccably researched, deeply moving, never-before-told tale about a World War II incarceration camp in Wyoming and its extraordinary high school football team—for fans of The Boys in the Boat and The Storm on Our Shores.
The Eagles of Heart Mountain honors the resilience of extraordinary heroes and the power of sports in a sweeping and inspirational portrait of one of the darkest moments in American history.
In the spring of 1942, the United States government forced 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes in California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona and sent them to incarceration camps across the West. Nearly 14,000 of them landed on the outskirts of Cody, Wyoming, at the base of Heart Mountain.
Behind barbed wire fences, they faced racism, cruelty, and frozen winters. Trying to recreate comforts from home, many established Buddhist temples and sumo wrestling pits. Kabuki performances drew hundreds of spectators—yet there was little hope.
That is, until the fall of 1943, when the camp’s high school football team, the Eagles, started its first season and finished it undefeated, crushing the competition from nearby, predominantly white high schools. Amid all this excitement, American politics continued to disrupt their lives as the federal government drafted men from the camps for the front lines—including some of the Eagles. As the team’s second season kicked off, the young men faced a choice to either join the Army or resist the draft. Teammates were divided, and some were jailed for their decisions.
Bradford Pearson is the former features editor of Southwest: The Magazine. He has written for The New York Times, Esquire, Time, and Salon, among many other publications. He grew up in Hyde Park, New York, and now lives in Philadelphia. The Eagles of Heart Mountain is his first book.
Patrick Radden Keefe is an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker magazine and the author of the New York Times bestseller Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, as well as two other books: The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream, and Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping. He is also the writer and host of Wind of Change, an 8-part podcast series from Pineapple Street Studios, Crooked Media, and Spotify, which investigates the strange convergence of espionage and pop music during the Cold War.
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