Friday, July 15, 2011

Saturday Biography Review: Farewell to Manzanar

Title: Farewell to Manzanar
Author: Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

About the Authors: Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, a Japanese American, was born in California where she has spent most of her life. As a child during World War II, she was interned with her family in a camp in Central California, Manzanar.  She met her husband, James D. Houston, while studying journalism and sociology at San Jose State University. He has written novels and nonfiction.

Publisher: Random House, Inc. 1973

Story Summary: Wakatsuki’s memoir recounts her childhood experience as she and her family were detained in Manzanar during the years of World War II. Her story outlines in detail a tragedy of suspicion and indignity inflicted upon American-born Japanese during a sad epoch of world history. It showcases the strength of these people and their ability to cope with dislocation and then reenter mainstream life after the war. Thirty years later Jeanne returns with her husband and children for a visit to the former internment camp. There she achieves some degree of resolution and personal peace.

In my travels up and down Highway I-395, I pass Manzanar several times a year. All that remains in this beautiful location at the foot of the Sierra’s is a guard tower and a huge building that looks like an airport hangar which now serves as a museum. This book is now used in middle school sociology studies in the service of helping student develop cultural diversity and to outline the sad effects of racism run awry.

The book contains a group study guide and an author interview.

Recommendation: I give this book ***1/2 stars. It is informative and reads quickly.


Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

honest book review, Victoria.
way to go.

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