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Silver Like Dust: One Family's Story of America's Japanese Internment Paperback – March 6, 2013
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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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“A remarkable book about life in a Japanese internment camp and the social and political forces that allowed their existence.”
- Kirkus Reviews
Top customer reviews
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
that we're affected, has helped me realize again that we Americans must not repeat this. An entire culture or ethnicity must not be blamed and punished for the acts of some members of that culture.
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. The author allows herself to wonder how she personally, and others of her generation, would react in the face of a similar experience. Does the attitude of "shikataganai", surrendering to one's fate, have a place in our lives today?
Your heart will ache when you read about how Americans threw stones at the busses that were relocating families away from their homes. You will get angry when you hear how the author's family, including her very ill great-grandmother, was housed in a fairground barn before the Wyoming camp was built. But more importantly, you will get to know a family who endured all of this.