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Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War…

by Daniel James Brown

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I listened to the audiobook of Facing The Mountain. It is the most complete telling of the Japanese American battalions during World War II that I have ever heard.

I found some aspects of this book phenomenal while others a bit boring. But I'm sure that's my frame of reference not a shortcoming by the author.
My cons: I had a difficult time remembering some of the names and/or hearing the differences in the names. At time I felt the battle scenes were too protracted (and yes I'm sure they felt much longer and more burdensome for those entrenched in warfare so I'm a privileged idiot).
My pros: Getting to know the people involved in this experience: in concentration camps, in legal battles, losing everything and experiencing racism, and serving the United States in battle. Learning more about Senator Daniel Inouye and his heroism was an unexpected bonus.

I found Facing The Mountain to be a very timely book since so much of it focused on the racism and discrimination against Japanese Americans in the 1940's. We have certainly not advanced significantly in the nearly eighty years since the attack on Pear Harbor. ( )
  Nancyjcbs | Sep 21, 2021 |
Dan Brown has written an excellent history of the Japanese-Americans who lived through World War 2, with a special focus on those who fought their way through some of the hardest fighting of the European theater. Brown did a massive amount of research, interviewing many survivors and pouring through records. I was astounded by the accounts of the 442nd's battles. ( )
  nmele | Sep 14, 2021 |
nonfiction, history/oral histories and WW2 battles - treatment and incarceration of Japanese citizens and immigrants during WW2, the Nisei soldiers who signed up to fight, their experiences on the Italian front, rescuing the Lost Battalion in France, and pursuing the Nazis as they retreated in Germany.

The part about the Japanese-American mainlander soldiers not getting along with the Hawaiian soldiers (whose families were not incarcerated because doing so would have wrecked the Hawaiian economy) was especially interesting to me, but others might enjoy learning about the different battles.

See also: the stories recorded by Densho (https://densho.org/)

Also recommended: George Takei's graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy for more perspective on the incarceration/internment camps, and also WE HEREBY REFUSE, another excellent graphic work that describes the organized resistance to incarceration. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 19, 2021 |
The title of the book, “Facing the Mountain: The True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” likely causes someone who hasn’t read the book to assume this is the story of Japanese American soldiers in WW II. And that is true, but it’s only half the story. The other half of Daniel James Brown’s (also authored the best seller “Boys in the Boat”) book tells one of American’s darkest stories since slavery—the incarceration of Japanese, including American citizens of Japanese descent, in concentration camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Most Americans are well aware that the U.S. government herded Japanese citizens into camps, but not many know the story of the sons of those Japanese Americans who fought, many heroically, in the fiercest battles of World War II. The men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team fought in France, Germany, and Italy where their missions were virtually impossible, and, although their casualties were huge, in each battle, they achieved the impossible victory. One severely injured soldier was back home in the states. On crutches, he walked into a barber shop before going to see his parents. A sign in the window said, “No Japs allowed!” Obviously recovering from injuries suffered in the war (he was in full uniform), the owner of the shop came up to him, grabbed him and physically threw him and his crutches out into the street. That is the respect members of the 442nd got. Finally after decades of essentially ignoring the unit’s incredible achievements, the U.S. government finally recognized their heroism and awarded Presidential Medals to many in the unit. Among the many veterans of the 442nd who went to law school and then entered public service, Hawaiian senator Daniel Inoue (1924-2012) served his state and the nation in the Senate from 1963 to 2012. Inoue lost his right arm in one of the bloodiest battles the 442nd fought. Inoue was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The story of Inoue and the rest of the unit is told with amazing detail by Brown with the same dignity as “Boys in the Boat.” This is a book every American should take the time to read. ( )
  DanDiercks | Jul 1, 2021 |
All people of Japanese ancestry were put into concentration camps because of Executive Order 9066 in the early 1940s. However, they were not the enemy and many men were willing to prove their allegiance to the United States by fighting in the war. This book is about the 442nd infantry Regiment and their experiences. ( )
  marilynzanetti | Jun 18, 2021 |
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You know, to me, I felt all the guys who didn't make it, I hope they're watching from heaven so that they, too, can enjoy and say, "Look what we have done."

Rudy Tokiwa
March 24, 2002
To Kats and Rudy and Fred and Gordon
And all those who held aloft the light of liberty
And led us over the mountain
when the darkness came
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