The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996 Page: 286
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
In this solid and richly detailed biography, Dixon fills us in on other aspects of
Forsyth's military career-the before and after of Beecher Island. Although he
was trained as a lawyer, the Civil War pulled Forsyth into the military and he
never looked back. For many years he served on Sheridan's staff, which brought
privileges including regular promotion, varied duties such as a world tour to
inspect Asian and European military forces, and the luxury of living in Chicago
rather than on remote frontier posts. Such advantages could not spare Forsyth
from his own weaknesses, however. Dishonorable conduct in financial matters
resulted in court-martial and suspension of duties. Forsyth's friends, and his
biographer, believed his disastrous financial decisions stemmed from his
Beecher Island head wound. In 1890 a retirement board remitted his sentence
but retired him from active service.
Although Dixon provides evidence to undermine the notion of Forsyth as
"hero," the author intends no irony in the title. Further, he argues that Forsyth
deserves attention as a symbol of the multifaceted role of the post-Civil War
army, enforcing Reconstruction and facilitating economic development in the
West. The latter seems plausible, yet hardly peculiar to Forsyth. To his credit,
Dixon mined every source available. Alas, personal letters proved sparse, thus
obscuring a sense of Forsyth's personality and character. The result is a compre-
hensive yet somewhat soulless biography of an army officer whose reputation
perhaps exceeded his merit.
University of Texas, El Paso SHERRY L. SMITH
Foo: A Japanese-American Prisoner of the Rising Sun. By Robert Wear. (Denton:
University of North Texas Press, 1993. Pp. xviii+371. Foreword, chronology,
introduction, epilogue, index. ISBN 0-92939-846-7. $24-50.)
There have been a myriad of books in recent years that detail the experiences
of American prisoners of war, from the American Revolution through Operation
Desert Storm. This work is quite different and is unique in that it chronicles the
internment of the only Japanese American combat soldier captured during the
Pacific campaign of World War II. Frank "Foo" Fujita, a Texan who served with
the "Lost Battalion" of the 36th Infantry Division, was captured during the
defense of Java in early 1942. Foo was held in several camps, including one in
Nagasaki and another in Tokyo.
Several'months of internment passed before the Japanese realized that Fujita
was of Japanese ancestry. As a result of this discovery, he was severely beaten on
several occasions. At one point while he was a POW, he was forced, along with
other prisoners, to engage in a Japanese radio propaganda program. This group
of POWs was taken to a facility in Tokyo to conduct the broadcasts. At this camp,
treatment was considerably better than at any other camp in Japan.
This book chronicles the daily life of a POW and includes vivid descriptions of
American bombings of Tokyo, as well as the civilian reactions to them. The book
is based on a secret prison diary that Fujita kept during his incarceration and
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996, periodical, 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/m1/334/: accessed June 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.