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Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki…

Farewell to Manzanar (1973)

by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, James D. Houston

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1,404235,398 (3.69)29
  1. 10
    The Fences Between Us : the Diary of Piper Davis by Kirby Larson (keristars)
    keristars: A rather obvious recommendation, but just in case: both books are about the Japanese-American Internment in WW2. One from a Japanese-American girl's point of view (and a memoir), the other is a fictional diary from a white American girl's point of view.

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I bought this book in the "classics" section of a used bookstore. I wouldn't classify this book as classic but it's still a very nice read. The characters are a bit shallow and it's hard to feel anything for them because of it. The story held me enough to want to read more but also kept me from 'loving' it. A solid book about a Japanese American family during WW2. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Author Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston has succeeded in writing a book that is readable and worthwhile for any reader -- I would say ages 12 to adult. I wish I had been assigned this in school, for I did not learn about Japanese internment camps until much later, probably my senior year in high school. I'd be willing to venture that even many high school students don't learn much about this part of American history.

The author wisely avoids pathos and melodrama, which allows the situation to speak for itself, standing out in stark relief against the backdrop of a "normal" life outside the camp. She manages to show us the dissolution of a family, the struggle to find and maintain an identity in an artificially created city, populated by law, not by choice. These are bitter, difficult things and Wakatsuki Houston allows the impact to sneak up on the reader.

This is no finger-pointing, harshly worded attempt at implicating the reader and forcing an emotional response. Instead, it is a deeply personal account which leaves one to absorb its impact slowly, wanting to learn more, and wanting to know how we can stop this from happening again. More than once, we've since been on the brink of repeating these past mistakes, which makes this book a timely and important read.
( )
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
Screening for an 8th-grade-appropriate title that's about the internment camps and isn't dull. I was sort of interested in this, but it reads very slowly and then I set it down and forgot I was reading it for a while, so it obviously didn't draw me back in. Which doesn't bode well for the 13-year-old attention span.
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
Jeanne Watatsuki Houston recalls her family's internment in Manzanar, one of the Western camps to which Japanese citizens and non-citizens alike were evacuated after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Houston's story has a special poignancy because there were aspects of the camp that became familiar and comfortable to her. She describes her family's history before and after their years in the camp as a context for the interpersonal strains during their internment. In addition, she describes the phenomenon of not fitting in as a more general developmental issue, one made particularly acute in her case by the intersection of adolescence and racism.

Since the research shows that most people who were interned in these camps did not discuss the experience with their own children, and that those who did have only a very brief conversation about it, Houston's account is all the more important and moving. Read in conjunction with Kessler's Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family and Wiesel's Night for comparison and contrast. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
Honestly, books about events like this make me burn with shame to be an American. Sadly, the story of the Wakatsuki family is just one of thousands sent to "internment" camps after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's slim memoir depicts how terrible it was to be Asian, Japanese, and female during WWII and after. This should be required reading. ( )
  AuntieClio | Dec 25, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houstonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Houston, James D.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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It is sobering to recall that though the Japanese relocation program, carried through at such incalculable cost in misery and tragedy, was justified on the ground that the Japanese were potentially disloyal, the record does not disclose a single case of Japanese disloyalty or sabotage during the whole war...
Henry Steele Commager, Harper's Magazine, 1947

Life has left her footprints on my forehead
But I have become a child again this morning
The smile, seen through leaves and flowers, is back, too smooth
Away the wrinkles
As the rains wipe away footprints on the beach. Again a
Cycle of birth and death begins.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Viet Nam Poems (1967)
To the Memory of Ko and Riku Wakatsuki and Woodrow M. Wakatsuki
First words
On that first weekend in December there must have been twenty or twenty-five boats getting ready to leave.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553272586, Paperback)

Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar internment camp--with 10,000 other Japanese Americans. Along with searchlight towers and armed guards, Manzanar ludicrously featured cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, sock hops, baton twirling lessons and a dance band called the Jive Bombers who would play any popular song except the  nation's #1 hit: "Don't Fence Me In."

Farewell to Manzanar is the true story of one spirited Japanese-American family's attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention . . . and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

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Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston relates her experiences of living at the Manzanar internment camp during World War II and how it has influenced her life.

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