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Silver Like Dust: One Family's Story of Japanese Internment Kindle Edition

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Length: 288 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, wanting to fit in, Grant felt far removed from her Japanese heritage, including the internment of her grandparents during WWII. She’d visited Obaachan (which means “grandmother”) in Florida since childhood but did not feel close to her. Later, with a new, burning curiosity about her family and that chapter of their history, Grant was compelled to visit as an adult and draw her reluctant grandmother into remembrances of the past. Slowly, Obaachan recalls the family’s immigrant history, the segregation and limited prospects even before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the internment of Japanese in the U.S. that followed. Two of Obaachan’s brothers served in the military while the family was interned in the camp, where she lost her mother and met her future husband. Grant offers a portrait of the stoicism and patriotism of her family as well as differences in generations, as the stories evoke her own feelings of rage. But throughout is a portrait of a courageous woman who endured hardship and later established a delicate balance of trust with her granddaughter that allowed her to finally tell the family’s story. --Vanessa Bush

Review

“A remarkable book about life in a Japanese internment camp and the social and political forces that allowed their existence.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A portrait of a courageous woman who endured hardship and later established a delicate balance of trust with her granddaughter that allowed her to finally tell the family’s story.” —Booklist

“For these fundamental violations of the basic civil liberties and constitutional rights of these individuals of Japanese ancestry, we apologize on behalf of the Nation.” —President Ronald Reagan, August 10, 1988

Product Details

  • File Size: 510 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (January 10, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 10, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00658EQ0G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,563 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is the non-fiction story of Kimi Grant's grandparents. They and their families were Japanese Americans interned in a camp during WWII. They never spoke of those years until Kimi was finally able to persuade her Obaachan (grandmother in Japanese) to tell her what happened to herself and her family. Even then, the shame is still with her and she suggests to Kimi. "Why don't you make it fiction?"

Grant does an outstanding job of explaining the mindset of the Japanese that faced these internments - the haji - the sense of privacy and shikataganai - the Japanese philosophy of "whatever happens, happens, you cannot change your fate, so don't bother feeling sorry for yourself".
She explains life for her Obaachan's family before the war and especially, what can be shocking for many; the fact that citizenship was denied until 1954. The Japanese were restricted to segregated beaches and so many other indignities and then the years of internment- 1941 to 1945. We see through her grandmother's eyes - the life in the camp. Even though she marries and has her first child, the conditions are stifling, one of sameness and of bare necessities and most of all no freedom.
We can feel the humiliations heaped upon them, the privacy taken away, their freedom lost and personal possessions gone. We also see the impossible choices they were faced with in the camps - questionnaires that if answered no, meant they were not patriotic Americans, but yet, since those not born in America were not citizens, if they rejected Japanese citizenship...would they be people without a country after the war?

This is a book that draws you into a shameful part of American history, but more than that we are drawn into this family and Obaachan's story. We can understand a part of history in a more personal sense than ever before.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By FRS on June 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book should be in every Middle & High school library of this nation. It is a very accessible read for younger reader & it will teach them what is carefully avoided in most text books. The respectful relationship between grand-daughter & grand-mother is a great example of how family members should interact. A positive example for certain.
I also noted the minor error about the slinky.
But it was outweighed by the other historical remarks that can easily be fact-checked.
A great first book. Congratulations !!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jujy-Nebraska on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really loved this book! It is a not often told story of the resilience of some of our Greatest Generation.

Many are not familiar with the Japanese interment during WW II and how our citizens of Japanese ancestry were treated.

The author's sensitivity to her grandmother's story and their relationship made the story profound for me
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By bothellbuyer on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Internment of Japanese citizens on the West Coast occurred just before I was born. I had classmates in grade school whose parents had been sent to the camps. I really never knew that much about this and it certainly wasn't covered in any detail in any history classes I took, so this was an important book for me to read. I live on the West Coast and regularly meet people who were affected by internment in one way or another. I would recommend this book to my friends and others, and sent a copy to my mother's kindle (which I manage) right after finishing the book. Recommended!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Greg More on March 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What makes this book so important and beautiful is the author's ability to NOT make this book simply a criticism of the U.S. government's decision to imprison (the euphemisms are "relocation" and "internment") over 100,000 Japanese who were living legally in this country, and the prejudices & discrimination the Japanese experienced. She certainly covers those terrible things in appropriate measure: "Three days before Christmas of 1941, Life magazine ran an article titled "How to Tell Japs from the Chinese". Nor does the author try to portray her family as super-humans who courageously endured a terrible chapter in American history. Instead, the author stays on course and brings us into four generations of her family. A family with personalities and differences and weaknesses and frustrations.

The imprisonment of her grandparents during WW II wasn't discussed when she was a child. During college, the author began spending more time with her widowed grandmother. A hard-working woman of few words, the grandmother didn't suddenly open up and let loose with something she had bottled up for over sixty years. The author's multiple year journey in talking to her grandmother, along with the attitudes of the subsequent generations, are as much a part of this book as the events that took place in the Wyoming camp. And that's why I think this book is so well done. The stories of the relocation and internment are astounding: We learn not only about the pains of life in the camp, but how her grandparents dated, married and began a family while imprisoned. We also learn about how the attitudes and experiences carried on well after the imprisonment and affected subsequent generations.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Arali on November 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kimi Cunningham Grant wants her grandmother, whom she calls "Obaachan", to share her memories of the most tragic events of World War II: the internment of Japanese-Americans directly following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Obaachan was sent with her family to one of these camps as a young woman. There she meets her future husband, Kimi's grandfather, "Ojichan".

Because Obaachan is very private and has never spoken of these sad events in her life, Kimi has to be very careful and tread lightly when asking certain questions. Her Ojichan, the more approachable of her grandparents is long dead and not available to question. Therefore, she must gather her courage to approach Obaachan. Kimi wants to write a book not only for the purpose of recording her grandmother's experiences during such and important time in history, but to better know who her Obaachan really is. Thus begins the journey back in time to when Obachan was a young woman with dreams of attending college. Those dreams are shattered the moment news of the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor is reported. Obaachan's family, along with thousands of other Japanese-Americans, are herded out of the West coast and sent to live in concentration camps for the remainder of the war. Obaachan was just about to start college when the news arrives that they must leave everything behind and make the move to Heart Mountain, Wyoming. A place purposely chosen by the American government because of it's vast, desolate landscape and unforgiving winters.

Kimi wonders how her family, with Obaachan's ailing mother, withstood such harshness of conditions, being hated by the locals, and kept in the camps by stern, armed guards.
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