They Called Us Enemy

 

They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, is a beautifully written and illustrated autobiography of his childhood years when he and his family were relocated to the American concentration camps during World War II.  This is a book that I think should be a must read for everyone. It is so alarmingly relevant today, and I mean this very day, with Iranians now being detained at our borders and children that continue to be separated from their families and incarcerated at our southern border!

from the publisher:

In a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon—and America itself—in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.

I was very moved by this book and learned a lot that I didn’t know about that shameful period of time in our nation’s history. It was both moving and uplifting. An excellent book, in my opinion, and one of the most important books I’ve read in a long time!

4 thoughts on “They Called Us Enemy

    1. Robin Post author

      Cath, you’re right. It just focuses on that part of his life and the impact on he and his family. I’d love to read his other autobiographical works!

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  1. Kay

    I just put it on hold at my library. I look forward to reading it. You know, the whole detained camp thing of WWII was so awful. I remember asking my mother at one point what she had thought about it at the time (during WWII she was a older teen/young woman). She didn’t even know what I was talking about, which I found very curious. I didn’t push it though. My Dad was in the Pacific in the Army and they had their own memories – not all happy. My father would never talk about his time in the Philippines and New Guinea. Glad more info is coming out about these things because that generation will very quickly be gone from this life. My parents have been gone for 10 and 12 years now. Sigh.

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    1. Robin Post author

      Kay, I appreciated reading this story and learning more about what happened because we still really don’t hear about it that much. But I think this graphic novel does a great job of illuminating how our country reacts to fear, which is completely relevant and important in today’s world.

      The experiences of that “greatest generation” were certainly complex and impacted each of our families in different ways. My in-laws were in Pearl City during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They never wanted to talk about it. My MIL was of Japanese heritage, born and grew up in Hawaii. FIL was from Kansas, and a civilian worker for the navy. After the war they moved to Washington and then California. They ran into a lot of fear, anger, and prejudice along the way! My own father served in Europe, was wounded three times in a 4 month period of time, and was deeply scarred emotionally from his time there. He was home recovering from his last wound, waiting to be shipped out to the Pacific when the war ended.

      I don’t think we can fully know and appreciate what our parents went through in that war, but I appreciated this little book and George Takei’s truth about what his family went through. I’ll be interested in hearing what you think about it when you read it. It would be a great teaching tool or book club book because the discussions would be so interesting!

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