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Synopses & Reviews
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat, a gripping World War II saga of patriotism, highlighting the contributions and sacrifices that Japanese immigrants and their American-born children made for the sake of the nation the courageous Japanese-American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe; their families, incarcerated back home; and a young man who refused to surrender his constitutional rights, even if it meant imprisonment.
They came from across the continent and Hawaii. Their parents taught them to embrace both their Japanese heritage and the ways of their American homeland. They faced bigotry, yet they believed in their bright futures as American citizens. But within days of Pearl Harbor, the FBI was ransacking their houses and locking up their fathers. And within months many would themselves be living behind barbed wire.
Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on Daniel James Brown's extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, it portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese-American families and their sons, who volunteered for 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible.
But this is more than a war story. Brown also tells the story of these soldiers' parents, immigrants who were forced to shutter the businesses, surrender their homes, and submit to life in concentration camps on U.S. soil. Woven throughout is the chronicle of a brave young man, one of a cadre of patriotic resisters who stood up against their government in defense of their own rights. Whether fighting on battlefields or in courtrooms, these were Americans under unprecedented strain, doing what Americans do best — striving, resisting, pushing back, rising up, standing on principle, laying down their lives, and enduring.
"A deft new account of "one of the most decorated units in American history."...Brown does an excellent job capturing this regrettable historical episode....An insightful portrait of exceptional heroism amid deeply embedded racism." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"A deep and richly detailed examination of indelible decisions and events that tarnished the legacy of America's role in WWII....a compelling and impressively redefining work on an often over-simplified and always consequential subject." Booklist (Starred Review)
"An illuminating and spirited portrait of courage under fire." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Daniel James Brown has done it again. HIs rich, nuanced recreation of the dark years when thousands of our fellow citizens were incarcerated because of their ancestry is a must-read contribution to the history of the 20th century. It's also uplifting. I'll never look at the World War II story in the same light." Timothy Egan, author of The Worst Hard Time
"The loyal and often heroic service of Japanese American soldiers is one of history's most inspiring responses to bigotry and oppression. Daniel James Brown brilliantly pairs these events in an epic of courage and resistance." David Laskin, author of The Long Way Home
"Facing the Mountain proves that the savagery of war isn't restricted to foreign battlefields. Many went to war — those who remained incarcerated endured the wrath of their fellow countrymen. It is said that to be an American we should strive to live life worthy of the sacrifices of those who came before us. Our bearing with each other is dependent on it." Lt. Col. Michael J. Yaguchi, USAF (ret), Commander, Nisei Veterans Committee
"Combining social and military history, Brown's latest book gives readers a heartbreaking picture of all that Japanese Americans sacrificed for their country during World War II." Library Journal
"This book's breadth and depth are unparalleled as it poignantly traces the Japanese American thread in the rich fabric of America. We meet compelling individuals, witness war's horrors and celebrate moments of triumph of the human spirit. The author vividly describes communities confronting prejudice with resilience and patriotism, surviving and ultimately having the opportunity to thrive." Terry Shima, T/4, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
"Daniel James Brown has a way of wrapping himself around a big and complicated subject with such subtlety and grace that we don't at first realize how fast the pages are turning, or how much fascinating material we've absorbed. In Facing the Mountain, all the skills of this master storyteller are once again on display, as he surely leads us to the emotional heart of a fraught and sprawling World War II story most of us knew nothing about." Hampton Sides, NYT bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and On Desperate Ground
"Riveting. Facing the Mountain is a book that is as much about the present as it is about the past. In it are vital lessons about courage, truth, justice, and an abiding love of country. Drawing on impeccable historic research, the narrative movingly shines the light of history on prejudice and discrimination and the unfinished struggle for a more just future." Ann Burroughs, President & CEO, Japanese American National Museum
About the Author
Daniel James Brown is the author of The Boys in the Boat, The Indifferent Stars Above, and Under a Flaming Sky. He lives outside of Seattle.
Tom Ikeda is executive director of Densho, a Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing Japanese American history and promoting social justice and equity