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Farewell to Manzanar Hardcover – April 29, 2002
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About the Author
James D. Houston is the coauthor with his wife, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, of the bestselling Farewell to Manzanar, and author of six other novels, including Continental Drift, Love Life, and The Last Paradise. His nonfiction works include Californians and In the Ring of Fire: A Pacific Basin Journey. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, in the house where Patty Reed spent the last years of her life.
From the Publisher
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. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top Customer Reviews
For those of you who disagreed with my review of that film, I strongly urge you to read (or re-read) "Farwell to Manzanar". This is a frank, accurate, and at times heart-breaking, true story of a Japanese family's internment in the camps. The narrative contains several different threads including:
1. The legal and economic injustice done to the author's family and thousands of other Japanese Americans.
2. The day to day life and survival requirements in the camps.
3. The difficulty of coping with generational differences within an interned Japanese-American family.
4. The difficulties and predjudices that Japanese Americans had to overcome in order to rebuild their lives after they were released.
Ms. Wakatsuki-Houston's memoir is simple and compelling. She describes her childhood experiences from the objective and mature perspective of an adult, a wife, and a mother. But despite the passage of time her narrative still conveys a great deal of pain and difficulty in coming to terms with her childhood internment at Manzanar.
The most interesting part of the book for me was how the author's family attempted to rebuild their lives after the U.S. government robbed and humiliated them. The father immediately started a farming venture whose success was only undermined by unsually adverse environmental conditions. One of the sons served in the military and then resumed the family's fishing business.Read more ›
The narrative is full of compelling details of the family's experiences. It is particularly intriguing to watch how the internment camp evolved into "a world unto itself, with its own logic"--a "desert ghetto." During the course of the book the authors discuss many important topics: religion, education, anti-Asian bigotry, the impact of the Pearl Harbor attack, the military service of Japanese-Americans during the war, and more.
The Houstons write vividly of the dislocation, humiliation, and injustice faced by the Wakatsuki family. Also powerful is the narrator's struggle to come to terms with her own ethnic identity.
For an interesting companion text, I would suggest "Desert Exile," by Yoshiko Uchida; this book also deals with the internment experience, but from a somewhat different perspective which complements that of the Houstons. I was moved by "Farewell." The book is a profound meditation on both the hope and the tragedy of the United States, in which the "American dream" can become intermingled with American nightmares. I consider this book an important addition to Asian-American studies in particular, and to the canon of multiethnic U.S. literature in general.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased this as a precursor to traveling to visit Manzanar. I appreciated the back story. Very historical and heart wrenching place of isolation and loss.Published 3 days ago by Sherri
I read this book with my three boys (ages 13 and a pair of 12 year old twins) as an adjunct to Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Kaui
Great book. Hard to believe that American citizens were rounded up and incarcerated based upon their ethnicity alone. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Satisfied customer
This book gives an account of the Japanese internment camps in the United State during WWII. It is telling of the human character: the will to survive in terrible circumstances,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rahleigh
This book was difficult for me to read because I am sentimental and the story is truly heartbreaking. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wilma Rodz
“Farewell to Manzanar” by Jeanne Wakstsuki and James Houstan was one of the more interesting books I’ve read, although I learned a lot I felt the book wasn’t that good. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Hannah Allen
An important story and perspective. I appreciate whenever my Ed Therapy clients are assigned Houston's memoir at school. The book has a needed impact on students.Published 3 months ago by Frank
Excellent book about a very shameful part of our history.Published 3 months ago by Lita Gloor Little