BOY FROM NEBRASKA: The Story of Ben Kurcki by Ralph G. Martin
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BOY FROM NEBRASKA: The Story of Ben Kurcki

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The warm, sympathetic story of America's number one Nisei, Ben Kurcki, who was transformed by Pearl Harbor from an ordinary American citizen into an undesirable, contemptible alien. Born into a family of ten children, Ben lived a life of poverty and happiness on a small Nebraska farm, but on Dec. 7, 1941, when he was 27 years old, his slant eyes and yellow skin became a stigma that forced him to fight hysterical prejudice at home, and in the service, as well as the enemy in combat in the ETO and later in the Pacific. This is a study in sensitivity and emotion, the bitter pain and humiliation suffered fighting Jap hatred. Here is his pride and heroism when he is allowed to prove his loyalty. He enlists in the army despite opposition; he seeks combat duty as a tail gunner, flies twenty five missions, including the Ploesti raid, turns down a furlough to fly more missions, and ultimately returns home to face bigotry again. He made a triumphant tour of the War Relocation Camps as a Nisei hero, and determined to break down prejudice further by serving in the Pacific. It took a special order from top brass to get to Tinian on a B-29, and there he lived in peril of being shot by Jap-happy soldiers, and he flew twenty eight more missions, one over his mother's home town, Yokohama. But once again a civilian, Ben returned to a life of insults and degradation, and is now giving of his time and money fighting for the cause of the Nisei. This might be called a companion piece to Black Boy, though not quite matching its brilliance and intensity.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1946
Publisher: Harper