VPR Commentary Producer Betty Smith offered these reflections about producing Vermont Reads on VPR:
Producing a broadcast project based on When The Emperor Was Divine has been a fascinating experience. To begin with, the book is beautifully written and brings alive a significant but little known episode in our history. And it's quite easy to see how the human rights issues it raises relate to current, post-9/11 events.
What was less clear at the outset was any direct connection to our particular region. After all, the internment of ethnic Japanese occurred almost exclusively on the West Coast. But once we began to research the topic within our own community, it didn't take us long to discover people and events that very effectively bring the story home. The amount of work involved in conducting that kind of research and follow-up has been considerable but the results have been extremely satisfying.
You can listen to VPR's 2009 Vermont Reads series online.