Yenne’s account has its moments, but Robert Asahina’s Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad...

RISING SONS

THE JAPANESE-AMERICAN GIS WHO FOUGHT FOR THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD WAR II

Indifferently written but thorough account of the Nisei soldiers who proved their loyalty to the U.S. in the face of racist convictions—and won more combat decorations than any other unit in history.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the internment of Japanese Americans resident on the West Coast cast deep suspicions on the young Nisei men who rushed forward to volunteer for combat even as their families were being sent to Manzanar, Heart Mountain and Poston. Yet, chronicles military historian Yenne (The American Aircraft Factory in World War II, 2006, etc.), the military authorities quickly recognized their value; those with some command of the Japanese language were enlisted as linguists and interrogators in the Pacific Theater, and the rest were gathered into the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and sent to the Mediterranean Theater. As with the Tuskegee Airmen, they found detractors among their fellow soldiers at first—but very few, Yenne writes, “who had actually seen them in action.” Soon the “little Hawaiians” had earned a deserved reputation as bunker- and line-busters who led the way against the ferociously defended Apennine line, fought bravely in France and liberated Dachau. Yenne cannot resist a cliché (“German bullets had no regard for the color of one’s skin, nor for the birthplace of a grandmother”), and the narrative is strangely flat for all the attendant drama of combat. Even so, it is well to remember the contributions of men such as Daniel Inouye, who lost an arm in combat and later went on to serve as senator from Hawaii, and Takejiro Higa, a combat linguist who helped save untold lives at the Battle of Okinawa, to name just one of the interpreters who, the Army reckoned, saved a million American lives.

Yenne’s account has its moments, but Robert Asahina’s Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad (2006) is the better book.

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-312-35464-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more