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EYES OF THE EMPEROR by Graham Salisbury Kirkus Star

EYES OF THE EMPEROR

By Graham Salisbury

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-72971-5
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Salisbury chronicles the true story of Hawaiian soldiers of Japanese descent following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Eddy Okubo has an evolving understanding that Japanese Americans are no longer trusted, even if they are serving in the U.S. armed forces. “To them we all look like Hirohito. . . . We got the eyes of the Emperor,” they realize. Eddy and 25 others are sent to Cat Island, Miss., where their humiliation is absolute. They are part of an experiment (based on a racist, erroneous theory that Japanese smell different from Caucasians) to see if army dogs can be trained to scent Japanese soldiers. Through a process of merciless brutalization, the dogs will be trained to hate, hunt and attack “the bait.” Eddy can only face this cruel duty by reconciling it with his vow to wipe out the shame his father felt after Pearl Harbor, and to prove his loyalty and his worthiness to serve. Salisbury’s tone, both unsentimental and unsensational, renders his telling all the more powerfully affecting. Morally and psychologically complex, historically accurate and unforgettably gripping. (author’s note, glossary) (Historical fiction. 12+)