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Other titles in the Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies series:
Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River (Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies)by Linda Tamura
Synopses & Reviews
Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence is a compelling story of courage, community, endurance, and reparation. It shares the experiences of Japanese Americans (Nisei) who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, fighting on the front lines in Italy and France, serving as linguists in the South Pacific, and working as cooks and medics. The soldiers were from Hood River, Oregon, where their families were landowners and fruit growers. Town leaders, including veterans' groups, attempted to prevent their return after the war and stripped their names from the local war memorial. All of the soldiers were American citizens, but their parents were Japanese immigrants and had been imprisoned in camps as a consequence of Executive Order 9066. The racist homecoming that the Hood River Japanese American soldiers received was decried across the nation.
Linda Tamura, who grew up in Hood River and whose father was a veteran of the war, conducted extensive oral histories with the veterans, their families, and members of the community. She had access to hundreds of recently uncovered letters and documents from private files of a local veterans' group that led the campaign against the Japanese American soldiers. This book also includes the little known story of local Nisei veterans who spent 40 years appealing their convictions for insubordination.
Linda Tamura is professor of education at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. She is the author of The Hood River Issei: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon's Hood River Valley.
"An important book about significant wartime events, a group of heroic World War II veterans, and the anguished experience of a community coming to grips with its own social sins. It is a superb oral history, a compelling community history, and a cautionary story about what happens when a democracy goes to war." -William L. Lang, Portland State University
"Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence speaks to contemporary concerns about multiculturalism and diversity with an absorbing and powerful story that encompasses both U.S. military and civilian life and strategically links the past with the present in a manner that vivifies what William Faulkner meant when he said that 'the past is not dead, it is not even past.'" -Arthur A. Hansen, Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies, California State University, Fullerton
"Tamura's cautionary tale depicts the unsung bravery and resilience of Japanese-American WWII veterans in the face of postwar racism. Focusing primarily on Japanese communities that settled in Oregon's Hood River Valley, Tamura (The Hood River Issei), a sansei (third-generation Japanese-American) and professor at Willamette University, relies both on oral histories and archival documents to trace the progress of issei (first-generation immigrants), the attempted assimilation of nisei (second-generation), and the conflict spurred by the war. If 'Issei had remained Ã¢Â€Â˜common, unskilled laborers, they might have been tolerated,'Â ' but the diligent, resourceful Japanese farmers became competitors in the eyes of white farmers. This fear triggered a movement to limit the settlers' rights and prevent their upward mobility, sanctioning restrictions on land ownership and citizenship. Considered 'nice people so long as they are in a minority,' when America went to war with Japan they were 'treated as prisoners and criminals': issei parents were forced into internment camps while their nisei sons were enlisted in the Army. This important chronicle of the community's wartime contributions interweaves fact and anecdote, exposing incidents like the removal of 16 nisei soldiers' names from a local war memorial; Tamura provides an engaging outlet for a hidden voice, so 'we can learn from and act to correct mistakes from the past.' Illus. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Asian American