History is about so much more than memorizing facts. It is about the story. And, told in the right way, it is the greatest one ever written: Good and evil, triumph and tragedy, despicable acts of barbarism and courageous acts of heroism. Glenn’s latest book, Miracles and Massacres, is history as you’ve never heard it told. It’s incredible events that you never knew existed. And it’s stories so important and relevant to today that you won’t have to ask: Why didn’t they teach me this?
If heroes are people who put themselves at risk for the good of others – regardless of the consequences – then without a doubt, Iva Toguri was a hero.
Born on the Fourth of July, 1916, Iva was the first natural-born U.S. citizen in her family. Her folks had come here because they believed in the American Dream, and they were proud to pass those ideals along to their children.
Iva grew up as an all-American kid. She was a Girl Scout, a Methodist, a graduate of UCLA and, later on, a registered Republican who cast her first vote for Wendell Wilkie in his run against FDR.
When she was 25, Iva took a trip to Japan to help out a relative. While her travel papers only allowed for a one-way trip, she assumed there'd be no problem applying for a return.
She was wrong. It was December 1941.
With the U.S. suddenly embroiled in the Pacific War, Iva was stranded in Japan. When the authorities pressured her to renounce her U.S. citizenship, she flatly refused – “A tiger doesn't change his stripes,” she told them – and they responded by declaring her to be an enemy alien.
As an outcast, Iva was lucky to land any job. She worked for a time as a typist for the Japanese news, and later for Radio Tokyo. Though she was only making a few dollars a month, she still spent some of her paycheck to smuggle food and medicine to Allied POWs.
In 2006, Iva was honored by the World War II Veterans Committee for “her indomitable spirit, love of country, and the example of courage she has given her fellow Americans.” But almost 60 years earlier, after finally returning home to the country she loved, she'd been convicted by the press and imprisoned for treason by the United States government.
When you read this remarkable woman’s full story in chapter 9 of Miracles and Massacres, you'll learn an incredible truth: Iva Toguri was tried, found guilty of treason, and lived most of her life branded as a infamous war-criminal who'd never actually existed: A notorious but completely fictional villain named “Tokyo Rose.”