The Train to Crystal City

FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II

The Train to Crystal City

The New York Times bestselling dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret FDR-approved American internment camp in Texas during World War II: “A must-read….The Train to Crystal City is compelling, thought-provoking, and impossible to put down” (Star-Tribune, Minneapolis).

During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during the war, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called “quiet passage.” Hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City were exchanged for other more ostensibly important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.

“In this quietly moving book” (The Boston Globe), Jan Jarboe Russell focuses on two American-born teenage girls, uncovering the details of their years spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists. Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp, from the ten-foot high security fence to the armed guards, daily roll call, and censored mail, have never been told.

Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR’s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and above all, “is about identity, allegiance, and home, and the difficulty of determining the loyalties that lie in individual human hearts” (Texas Observer).
  • Scribner | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451693676 | 
  • January 2016
List Price $18.00 (price may vary by retailer)
In Stock: Usually ships within 1 business day
Buy from another retailer

Read an Excerpt

Articles About This Book

Off the shelf vertical blog post

Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Caitlin Kleinschmidt

Each time Erik Larson touches pen to paper, it is a book-publishing event. Specializing in resurrecting once-famous news stories, Larson knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novel ever could. Bringing the...

More Books from this Author

Lady Bird

About the Author

Jan Jarboe Russell
© Trish Simonite

Jan Jarboe Russell

Jan Jarboe Russell is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II, winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Prize for Best Book of Nonfiction. She is a Neiman Fellow, a contributing editor for Texas Monthly, and has written for the San Antonio Express-News, The New York Times, Slate, and other magazines. She also compiled and edited They Lived to Tell the Tale. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Dr. Lewis F. Russell, Jr.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US