Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence
Coming Home to Hood River
- $24.95 paperback (9780295992099) Add to Cart
- hardcover not available
- Published: September 2012
- Subject Listing: World War II, Western History, Asian American Studies
- Bibliographic information: 368 pp., 34 illus., notes, bibliog., index, 6 x 9 in.
- Territorial rights: World
- Series: Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies
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 reception 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
Watch the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHMcFdmixLk
“Tamura’s Nisei Soldiers is an interesting, solidly researched, and well-written piece of history, one that fills a gap in the literature on the American war experience.” -Thomas Saylor, Oral History Review, September 2013
"Nisei Soldiers touches deeply into America's reckoning with race and bigotry and deserves a wide reading. The author offers a persuasive and compelling account of the treatment of Japanese Americans in peace and wartime." -William G. Robbins, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Summer 2013
". . . an excellent history of the Hood River Nisei who served during WW II. Her book is backed by all of the expected (and nicely utilized) sources . . . what helps to distinguish the book as unique are the multitude of rare interviews . . . Highly recommended." -J. T. Rasel, Choice, March 2013
"An important book about a shameful era in the history of the Columbia gorge. . . . Tamura uses interviews and newly uncovered documents to tell a shocking story." -Jeff Baker, The Oregonian, December 2012
"Tamura has done well to write this book, which strikes a blow at historical amnesia and resonates in Puget Sound country." -Mike Dillon, City Living, October 2012
"This important chronicle of the community's wartime contributions interweaves fact and anecdote . . . Tamura provides an engaging outlet for a hidden voice . . ." -Publishers Weekly, June 2012