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Grade 4-10?Organized chronologically, this book captures the broad sweep of the Japanese-American experience. Each of the six chapters offers a succinct historical presentation followed by first-person accounts. Relying on oral histories and original documents, both pictorial and written, the Hooblers have truly humanized historical events. Students and teachers will find that the anecdotal information enlivens their lessons. General readers will appreciate the clarity of the writing, which brings the details and concepts of the past 150 years of Japanese American history into focus. Because of its reader-friendly design, one could read this book like a National Geographic, skipping from informative captions to boxes of intriguing tidbits. Like a family album, the pages of the book are filled with finequality archival black-and-white photographs that tell a story. The subjects of these photos, generally posed to present their best to the world, invite readers into their lives and share with them their fears and hopes as they settle into their new land.?Susan Middleton, LaJolla Country Day School, CA Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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This book is one of the few that actually tries to tackle the long story of struggle and assimilation by Japanese Americans into American society. It starts off with an intro by George Takei and then dives into the history of emigration, era of laborers in Calif and Hawaii, settlement by families, the concentration camp experience, and the post war assimilation. The best part of the book is the numerous pictures and quotes from books/newspapers from famous figures in Japanese American lore: Yoshiko Uchida, Daniel Inouye, Isamu Noguchi, Ellison Onizuka, etc.. For somebody looking for easy reading material (without the philosophical discussion of racism that you may find in Takaki's books), I recommend it highly.
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I do not want this to be a case of one-upmanship but I cannot resist pointing out that the authors' descriptions of Toru Matsumoto on pages 12, 43, and 97 are factually incorrect. The authors say on page 12 that Toru Matsumoto emigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s. However, it was in 1935 that Toru Matsumoto first visited the United States. Moreover, he did not emigrate to the U.S. then but just visited the country to attend the 2nd U.S.- Japaese Students Conference. On page 43, the authors state that Toru landed in San Francisco. It is incorrect; he landed in Seattle. And it was his brother Tsuyoshi, not a friend, that arranged for him to meet Jay and Mary. On page 97, the authors write that Toru Matsumoto was living in New York city with his American wife Emma. Emma was not an American but a Japanese citizen then. Lastly, Toru Matsumoto was never an American citizen throughout his life. He came back to Japan in the wake of WWII and remained in Japan until his untimely death in 1979. For further details, please consult my Between Two Worlds: Matsumoto Toru and His Age (M.A. Thesis: Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM). Otherwise, the book is a good introduction to the subject.