Searching for Subversives

The Story of Italian Internment in Wartime America

By Mary Elizabeth Basile Chopas

250 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 halftones, 4 graphs, appends., notes, bibl., index, approx 95,000 words

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3434-0
    Published: November 2017
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3433-3
    Published: November 2017
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3435-7
    Published: October 2017

Paperback Available November 2017, but pre-order your copy today!

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

When the United States entered World War II, Italian nationals living in this country were declared enemy aliens and faced with legal restrictions. Several thousand aliens and a few U.S. citizens were arrested and underwent flawed hearings, and hundreds were interned. Shedding new light on an injustice often overshadowed by the mass confinement of Japanese Americans, Mary Elizabeth Basile Chopas traces how government and military leaders constructed wartime policies affecting Italian residents. Based on new archival research into the alien enemy hearings, this in-depth legal analysis illuminates a process not widely understood. From presumptive guilt in the arrest and internment based on membership in social and political organizations, to hurdles in attaining American citizenship, Chopas uncovers many layers of repression not heretofore revealed in scholarship about the World War II home front.

In telling the stories of former internees and persons excluded from military zones as they attempted to resume their lives after the war, Chopas demonstrates the lasting social and cultural effects of government policies on the Italian American community, and addresses the modern problem of identifying threats in a largely loyal and peaceful population.

About the Author

Mary Elizabeth Basile Chopas has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about Mary Elizabeth Basile Chopas, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

“This is one of the most impressive studies of its kind. Chopas has produced a model study, one that mixes detailed research with carefully nuanced readings and thoughtful analysis. This is an original and valuable addition to the literature of American history.”—Greg Robinson, author of A Tragedy of Democracy

"Searching for Subversives is a significant addition to our understanding of civilian internment in the United States during World War II. Chopas’s compilation and analysis of individual cases, as well as her examination of the role of hearing boards, is one of a kind."--Stephen Fox, author of Against All Enemies