Skip to content
History - United States New Titles

$36.00 Regular price
Unit price

Heart Mountain Chronicles: The History of a Japanese Relocation Center

ISBN: 9781733489720
Binding: Paperback
Author: Bernard Murphy & James Murphy
Edited by: Renee Tafoya
Pages: 678
Trim: 6.125 x 9.25 inches
Published: 05/01/2024

This is the story of a city. The Heart Mountain Relocation Center, located in northwest Wyoming, was one of ten Japanese-American internment camps built by government in the summer of 1942 to hold persons of Japanese ancestry forcibly removed from the West Coast during WWII in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Constructed in just 60 days, it became the third-largest city in Wyoming at the time. Japanese evacuees were interned there from August 1942, until November 1945, when the last of its residents left to resume their interrupted lives.

This book details the planning, construction, and services that were developed to house 11,000 people. It's the story of the physical as well as the social infrastructure that the internees created for themselves: schools, shops, a newspaper, hospital, fire department, and a system of self-government.

While others have written about the people who were interned in Japanese relocation centers during WWII, this is the story of one of the camps, told by two brothers who lived there.


Bernard  and James Murphy lived at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center with their parents from April 1948 until November 1950, occupying barracks that once housed Japanese residents. Their father, B.D. Murphy was a civil engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation who used the deserted Center as the headquarters of the Shoshone Reclamation Project.

"Jim and I decided to research that unusual place where spent some of our growing-up years. Heart Mountain wasn't a very pretty place; the barracks remaining when we lived there looked pretty flimsy. How did those people from California ever survive living there in that harsh weather? We decided to find out. Since we had lived there and had a general idea of how it was built, we focused our interest on the infrastructure; whose idea was it to build such a place? Why was it built where it was? Who designed it? Who constructed it? Who were these people that were imprisoned? What did they do all day while locked up? Where did its prisoners come from and where did they go? Hopefully, in answering my own questions I will have been able to answer others' questions about this dreadful place" - Ben Murphy.


"My name is Sam Mihara, a former prisoner at a WWII camp at Heart Mountain Wyoming. I had the pleasure of reviewing a copy of the Heart Mountain Chronicles: The History of a Japanese Relocation Center by Ben and Jim Murphy. The correlation between many contents in the book and my memory of events that I remember is stunning and revealing. I can confirm that this book is both accurate and interesting for both casual and dedicated history readers." - Sam Mihara