Facing The Mountain
I jumped at the chance to read Facing The Mountain. Daniel James Brown’s other book, Boys in the Boat, is one of my favorite books. I host a historical fiction book club. What I like about this author is his ability to create personal connections with history. I also love to share my books and I knew that my father-in-law would enjoy this one.
In Facing The Mountain, the author shares the experiences of Japanese immigrants and native Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I knew of the concentration camps from my time living in Seattle. However, I also know that this history is not widely told. That in itself makes this a very important book.
But this author weaves in a second narrative. That is of the 442 Battalion, consisting of young Japanese-American men serving their country and reporting to white officers. Many of these boys served while their parents were confined making the story to becoming decorated veterans even more gripping. They had to suffer to prove their loyalty.
Facing The Mountain can be tough to read because it is war and the treatment of these men was abysmal. But it is also important to be honest with how we handle history so we can be better going forward. When discussing the book with my father in law, he said he was only 5 years old when Pearl Harbor happened. He remembered some relatives of friends being sent away. He also talked his best friend, that was his wedding, and yet it wasn’t until reading this book that he realized how awful the treatment of Asian Americans was.
Daniel James Brown does an incredible job of both research and getting to the heart of the story. An excellent read.
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