They Called Us Enemy
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.

They Called Us Enemy Details

TitleThey Called Us Enemy
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 16th, 2019
PublisherTop Shelf Productions
ISBN-139781603094504
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, History, Comics, Biography Memoir, Biography, Graphic Novels Comics, Historical

They Called Us Enemy Review

  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Well done, George Takei (and, of course, kudos to the co-authors and artists), and thank you for using your (frankly, enormous) reputation (OK, let's put it out there, from Star Trek) to advance the common good (generally, and specifically, at this time) of society and our fragile nation.So, where to start? Yes, yes, it's a graphic novel, but it's much, much more. It's non-fiction, it's autobiographical, it's current, it's important, it's historic, it's informative, and .... and, yes, as graphic Well done, George Takei (and, of course, kudos to the co-authors and artists), and thank you for using your (frankly, enormous) reputation (OK, let's put it out there, from Star Trek) to advance the common good (generally, and specifically, at this time) of society and our fragile nation.So, where to start? Yes, yes, it's a graphic novel, but it's much, much more. It's non-fiction, it's autobiographical, it's current, it's important, it's historic, it's informative, and .... and, yes, as graphic novels go (or as these types of autobiographical efforts go), it's quite good, and it's highly accessible, and he's (obviously) a celebrity, so it's getting a lot of coverage (including a massive spread in this weekend's Washington Post) ... so it's a powerful tool. OK, it won't be all things to all people. Depending upon the circles you run in - particularly among people who read literature - I might recommend (even though it's fiction) that folks who want an empathetic introduction to the Japanese Internment debacle instead start with Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine (appreciating that, Otsuka's book is fiction, and very much micro, and Takei's, frankly, is not only personal-yet-macro, but also more informative or fact-rich). Having said that, particularly with his springboard, it's a solid piece of work, and the timing couldn't be better. To the extent this is a graphic novel, I expect that many folks will immediately make analogies to Art Spiegelman's iconic Maus, but I fear that it's a tough comparison - for Maus, many stars aligned, and timing - coming at the tale end of the late-1980's/early 1990's birth/rebirth of adult graphic novels - think, I dunno, Kingdom Come, Sandman, Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, etc. - was a big part of it.... Rather than Maus, I immediately thought of Marjane Satrapi's similarly powerful Persopolis, which I found to be quite good (and thought-provoking and emotive). Heck, you might also want to throw Max Brooks' informative and well-done Harlem Hellfighters onto that pile. But let's be clear, graphic novels can be a very effective tool for opening people's eyes to facts and ideas that may not previously have been familiar, or come to grips, with. But, drifting to non-graphic non-fiction books that humanize the country's (less-than-flattering, OK, heinous) history of racial oppression, it was interesting to read this immediately after finishing Michael Kranish's (very recent and quite good) The World's Fastest Man, about "America's First Black Sports Hero," .... in my review of that one, I suggested that, the book's primary contribution may be helping some folks (cyclists? sports fanatics?) to gain familiarity with our oft-ignored history of race and racism. In that context, thinking about other excellent examples of compelling non-fiction on race, I might comfortably shelve that book alongside Isabel Wilkerson's monumental Warmth of Other Suns, Gilbert King's Pulitzer Prize winning Devil in the Grove, or maybe even David Grann's stunning Killers of the Flower Moon, but, of course, these are all just the tip of the iceberg.At the end of the day, I recommend the book without hesitation. It's a quick read. Buy it, share it, pass it on to kids in school (not just college or high school ... I think it would play well in middle and junior high schools), friends, neighbors, potential voters, and ... generally ... open-minded people ... and potential voters ... who, for whatever reason, may simply be unfamiliar with the history of race in the U.S. - particularly between the Civil War and the 1960's Civil Rights Movement. Oh, and, if you're on Twitter, follow the author at @GeorgeTakei - his voice is a unique and refreshing one in these troubling times.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    This was a heartfelt, passionate and painful story that I couldn't put down. I have always known about the internment camps of World War II and the mistreatment of so many loyal citizens by the U.S. government, but this illuminated the situation for me even more. It also helped me reconfirm the belief that being a member of the United States and living under the wonderful ideals it is based on are not exclusive to those with power and should not be exclusionary to any who seek them. I stayed up This was a heartfelt, passionate and painful story that I couldn't put down. I have always known about the internment camps of World War II and the mistreatment of so many loyal citizens by the U.S. government, but this illuminated the situation for me even more. It also helped me reconfirm the belief that being a member of the United States and living under the wonderful ideals it is based on are not exclusive to those with power and should not be exclusionary to any who seek them. I stayed up past 2:00am reading this one because it was so fascinating.
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  • Paul Hankins
    January 1, 1970
    There are moments in a reader/teacher's experience when you can see a book getting ready to release and he, she, or they have already begun to pull the "ladder" texts (READING LADDERS by Dr. Teri Lesesne) that might wrap-around the book to come. Of course, subject matter, especially historical periods, can create their own sense of ladders. Experienced readers, including librarians, reviewers, and classroom library curators, who have read middle grade and young adult for some time can point beyo There are moments in a reader/teacher's experience when you can see a book getting ready to release and he, she, or they have already begun to pull the "ladder" texts (READING LADDERS by Dr. Teri Lesesne) that might wrap-around the book to come. Of course, subject matter, especially historical periods, can create their own sense of ladders. Experienced readers, including librarians, reviewers, and classroom library curators, who have read middle grade and young adult for some time can point beyond the novels right to the other graphic novels with which THEY CALLED US ENEMY could reside and work in a ladder configuration. As one who has read Larry Dane Brimner's VOICES FROM THE CAMPS, I found many of those voices coming back to "tell of their accounts" while George shared his. THEY CALLED US ENEMY meets and exceeds expectations for what it might present by way of subject and approach. For those of us who know George Takei for his witty presence in the social media spaces and his trademark "Oh myyyy" (or perhaps sci-fi fans will remember that there is an asteroid out there that named after the author) will experience more than a shift in the author's persona as presentation here becomes more of a revelation of who this figure has always been as witness to and advocate for those affected by an American government that would intern its own people. In his Today Show appearance with the book's release, the hosts were embarrassed to say that they were not taught about this moment in history and discovered this time period later in life. In this light, I am designating THEY CALLED US ENEMY as a "gatefold title" that opens up and creates its own connections to other books about the internment of Japanese people by the American government during the 1940s. Part of what I am learning in visiting this time period is that to call this a Japanese Internment suggests something that is in error regarding those demanding and enacting internment and the internees. What's more, THEY CALLED US ENEMY opens itself to historical archives and documents that could be (and perhaps should be) used to help the book to open itself up beyond memoir into classroom resource that satisfies standards requiring the synthesis of text in the classroom experience. As a "lightship" title, THEY CALLED US ENEMY, George Takei's memoir provides a narrative arc that begins "in media res" of the Takei family being taken into custody by soldiers. This is a moment that Takei references in his Today Show appearance on 16 July as an early formative memory related to the internment of his family and provides a place where classroom teachers might go to provide a quick, four-minute introduction to the story to come. This moment is depicted in eighteen panels over the span of four pages to set the scene for the book. Those sharing graphic novels with young readers will see the craft of story presented in panels that present dialogue and sound and silent response that make graphic novels a power medium by which to communicate quickly what might take prose paragraphs and pages to present. Three panels lead the reader out of the opening scene into a transition to. . .George Takei presenting at TEDxKyoto in 2014. His TED talk, "Why I Love a Country That Once Betrayed Me." For teachers of older students, this talk clocks in at sixteen minutes as a means of leading into the memoir. THEY CALLED US THE ENEMY draws upon thirty-eight seconds of the talk in order to lead into the narrative to come. This provides an opportunity to "front load"the book or to serve as a summary of the text at the end as Takei becomes real to the readers who have experienced his memoir in graphic novel form. Like other graphic novels presented about this time period, a singular and arresting color schema provide a mood for the text not distracted by the use of colors and effects. However, the creators of this book do present lighter moments within the memoir that begin to look most manga and anime style which will appeal to young readers who recognize the approach. That the book does have lighter moments (don't miss a young George's attempt to conjure treats from American soldier/guards with the use of a "magic word" passed down by older boys in the camp) does not detract from the overall message and embedded themes of the work. As the story unfolds, a time jump brings George Takei to Hyde Park in 2017. Footage of Takei's visi to the F.D.R. Museum and Presidential Library are available at platforms like YouTube which provide for multi-media interludes within the reading. This first interlude takes place at about the 10-15% of the totality of the text which might provide that "break" for young readers that help them to center the author's account with the words shared in real life. The next look at an older Takei takes the reader backward in time to 2000 when he was appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton to the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. This moment is depicted at about 60% of the total text and provides an opportunity to bring into the reading more of the historical arc that wraps around Takei's account. Yet another historical allusion happens near the conclusion of THEY CALLED US ENEMY wherein Takei meets Martin Luther King Jr.. Even this moment is presented as a means to point the reader back to the influence of Takei's father upon the author's activism and advocacy. As a hero's journey text, readers will see conflict between the experiences of a young George and the George who will age four years while in the camps. An older George questions the decisions, actions, and intentions of his father that are responded to in a way that provides an opportunity to talk about the lessons of our fathers. Takei references his father's lessons in his Today Show appearance and this moment is rendered clearly by way of expressing a theme of the book in the graphic novel form. And, this memoir would not be complete without Takei's being offered the iconic role which be defining in the sense of media folklore, but the moment that Roddenberry offers Takei is not to be missed by readers for what this role has meant by way of representation. I don't need to suggest that students might be introduced to clips of Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu (who will ultimately achieve the rank of Star Fleet Captain of the USS Excelsior (Stardate 9521.6). THEY CALLED US ENEMY is a powerful look at one man's experience while imprisoned as a child to bend toward current events that invite this graphic novel to not only be a stand-alone text as introduction to the subject but as a precursor to stories straight out of current events. Here, we move from "ladder" by way of historical event to "leading into" current events that allow Takei to present a beacon of hope achieved over a period of time to a moment in time that calls for that same hope. It is my hope that a review of this graphic novel might create awareness of its release and availability to classroom teachers and how it might be presented in synthesis with other text to illuminate social issues that ask and require social response.
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  • Sheila Beaumont
    January 1, 1970
    George Takei's compelling, heartfelt graphic memoir about his family's experiences during the U.S. government's incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is a must-read.After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, 120,000 Japanese Americans, many of them citizens or longtime residents, were sent to concentration camps. The Takeis spent some time at Santa Anita Racetrack (George, at the age of 5, thought sleeping in a smelly stall where a horse had lived was great fun), then George Takei's compelling, heartfelt graphic memoir about his family's experiences during the U.S. government's incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is a must-read.After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, 120,000 Japanese Americans, many of them citizens or longtime residents, were sent to concentration camps. The Takeis spent some time at Santa Anita Racetrack (George, at the age of 5, thought sleeping in a smelly stall where a horse had lived was great fun), then they were herded onto a train that took them to a camp in Arkansas (where George thought dinosaurs roamed the swamps outside the barbed wire fence). Later they were moved to Tule Lake in Northern California. Both parents did their best to make the experience a "vacation" for their children.This book contains much information that is new to me, especially about the aftermath of the incarceration. I hope this book is widely read, especially in light of current government policies that are repeating the same mistakes. It's certainly accessible, since it's in a format that can easily be read by all ages, from middle school on up. This a book that everyone should read.
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  • Tasha Birckhead
    January 1, 1970
    I have read only the arc from ALA but this is so powerful. I'm so glad he chose to tell his story through the format of a graphic novel. Like the graphic novel, March, I think this book will reach a wider audience and educate them on some real american history.
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  • Natalie Joy
    January 1, 1970
    I woke up and grabbed this off my nightstand, intending to flip through it a little before getting up and going about my day. Instead, I remained sitting up, vaguely aware of my kids coming in and asking for breakfast and me waving a hand at them murmuring something like "Sure, whatever you want," only to discover later they'd had granola bars and Reece's Pieces as I finished the entire graphic novel in one go. But, hey--it was worth it, because not only are they on summer vacation, Takei's nove I woke up and grabbed this off my nightstand, intending to flip through it a little before getting up and going about my day. Instead, I remained sitting up, vaguely aware of my kids coming in and asking for breakfast and me waving a hand at them murmuring something like "Sure, whatever you want," only to discover later they'd had granola bars and Reece's Pieces as I finished the entire graphic novel in one go. But, hey--it was worth it, because not only are they on summer vacation, Takei's novel gripped me in the same way Maus and Persepolis have.I have become a fan of graphic autobiographical novels as I feel the combination of text paired with illustrations can tell a deeply uncomfortable and difficult story in a way that just written words or moving pictures cannot. You can see 5 year old Takei's overly exaggerated bright, glimmering eyes as his dad tells him they are going on a long "vacation," highlighting his childlike innocence, while reading the adult Takei's straightforward retrospect. It also appeals to an audience with a wide level of reading abilities, as adults will definitely appreciate the deeper questions this graphic novel brings up, but younger children and teens can be exposed to the reality of internment camps through a young child's viewpoint, without excessive violence or language. While I have been aware of the existence of internment camps and Executive Order 9066 for some time, I'm somewhat ashamed to have never tracked down firsthand account resources to investigate further, the way I have with other historical events that have disturbed me. I'm glad to be more informed now. This is a must-read book for everyone.
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  • Katrina
    January 1, 1970
    Thoughtfully and artfully told, George Takei now shares his story in graphic novel format. It’s unfortunate to call this “timely,” but that’s what it is. As the US is unjustly imprisoning asylum-seekers and people who have committed no crime but wanting better for their family, Takei reminds us of a time - within a lifetime - where people were forcefully incarcerated based on their heritage. “They Called Us Enemy” is very accessible for middle grades and up, and the gentle illustrations bring re Thoughtfully and artfully told, George Takei now shares his story in graphic novel format. It’s unfortunate to call this “timely,” but that’s what it is. As the US is unjustly imprisoning asylum-seekers and people who have committed no crime but wanting better for their family, Takei reminds us of a time - within a lifetime - where people were forcefully incarcerated based on their heritage. “They Called Us Enemy” is very accessible for middle grades and up, and the gentle illustrations bring readers clearly into a not-so-distant past.
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  • Raven Black
    January 1, 1970
    Shows years from author's childhood to today. Not in chronical order, but marked so you can see the changes. While Takei is the narrator, his childhood shown through eyes of the child but with adult understanding.
  • Theo Coughlin
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, there is so much in here. I wish every American could read this, in light of our country’s current climate of bigotry and hatred. Unfortunately history seems to be repeating itself.
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    OK, I'm sure we are tired of hearing that history repeats and repeats itself, but as I read this memoir of George Takei, of his time in the Internment camps that was established by executive order, at the beginning of World War Two, the more I see the parallels going on today.Takai was famous for being Lt. Sulu from Star Trek, to a certain generation and as that Meme guy, to a younger generation. He was interred, along with his family during WWII, and had to leave by everything behind, except wh OK, I'm sure we are tired of hearing that history repeats and repeats itself, but as I read this memoir of George Takei, of his time in the Internment camps that was established by executive order, at the beginning of World War Two, the more I see the parallels going on today.Takai was famous for being Lt. Sulu from Star Trek, to a certain generation and as that Meme guy, to a younger generation. He was interred, along with his family during WWII, and had to leave by everything behind, except wha they could carry. The story is told from his memories as a five year old child, as well, as what he was able to learn from his father, later on, about what really happened.This is so heartbreaking, not because it happened, long ago, but that it could happen again, and has happened before. This American society has a hatred for the other, always has, always will. If it wasn't the Japanese, it was the Chinese, where they were forbidden to become citizens, despite helping build the transcontinental railroad. If it wasn't the Chinese, it was the Indigenous peoples. One of our current president's favorite presidents is Andrew Jackson, famous for the Trail of Tears, in which he sent the Indigenous peoples to walk from their homeland to the new Indian Territory. Divide and conquer. And the same way that Joe Lewis' March gave an easy way to read and learn about the civil rights movement, I am hoping that this book helps people realize what went on after executive order 9066 was issued. Most of the Japanese-Americans lost everything they owned. They lost their homes, their businesses, their farms. In my mother's neighborhood, the families got together and kept up the mortgage payments on the house of the family that got sent away, the Navaros. I have heard and read about farms that were saved, but these are far and few between. For the most part, everything was lost.I thought I could wait to read this, when I wasn't working. Instead, I took an extra long lunch break, and ate it up. Truly a ground breaking story. Highly recommend it.
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  • Kassy MacPherson
    January 1, 1970
    This book was amazing. George’s life story is one that will stick with me for a long time. These Americans were all brave to experience these internment camps. The book does a great job at showing the injustice and the sacrifices before and after the war for many Americans. I enjoyed the stories that George remembered of the camp (some are funny while others are sad to read), but also the history throughout the book. Not only does it depict his years at the internment camp during WWII, but also This book was amazing. George’s life story is one that will stick with me for a long time. These Americans were all brave to experience these internment camps. The book does a great job at showing the injustice and the sacrifices before and after the war for many Americans. I enjoyed the stories that George remembered of the camp (some are funny while others are sad to read), but also the history throughout the book. Not only does it depict his years at the internment camp during WWII, but also the fight for justice the decades that followed. George’s activism is inspiring. It is also sad that even to this day, the same types of injustices are happening. He mentions it in his book, but it is done very tactfully. It is almost as if the United States has never learned from the injustices of the past.
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  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    Like Room, the atrocities in here are narrated by a child. George Takei didn't realize the full extent of what was happening when he, his parents and his two younger siblings were sent to Japanese internment camps (read: imprisoned) but that doesn't make it any easier for the reader. This book absolutely broke my heart. We're never getting better as a country, are we? We're still afraid of people who we deem as "other" and we just take turns with who that "other" is considered to be.(George Take Like Room, the atrocities in here are narrated by a child. George Takei didn't realize the full extent of what was happening when he, his parents and his two younger siblings were sent to Japanese internment camps (read: imprisoned) but that doesn't make it any easier for the reader. This book absolutely broke my heart. We're never getting better as a country, are we? We're still afraid of people who we deem as "other" and we just take turns with who that "other" is considered to be.(George Takei is a lot more hopeful about this than I am; he also shares that the government apologized---decades later, Ronald Reagan officially apologized and George HW Bush issued reparations to the American citizens who were wrongly imprisoned due to their ancestry.)This is not an easy book but it's a very necessary one. Highly recommended.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    This book is so beautifully done. Not only is the message vital and timely, but it is more important now than ever. Takei tells his amazing story of living in the Japanese internment camps from the perspective of a child, interspersed with his thoughts now that he is older and has a different perspective on the situation. A truly heartbreaking and yet simultaneously heartwarming story. The art is simple and so very effective! Gorgeous details and really enhances the story. Reading what someone g This book is so beautifully done. Not only is the message vital and timely, but it is more important now than ever. Takei tells his amazing story of living in the Japanese internment camps from the perspective of a child, interspersed with his thoughts now that he is older and has a different perspective on the situation. A truly heartbreaking and yet simultaneously heartwarming story. The art is simple and so very effective! Gorgeous details and really enhances the story. Reading what someone goes through is one thing, but being able to see it really changes it for you. 100% recommend!!
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  • Jennifer Mangler
    January 1, 1970
    This is such a moving book and I couldn't put it down. I wish it was just a book about something in our history, but sadly it isn't. Too many Americans don't know about the internment of Japanese-Americans, and as a country we haven't learned anything. We're repeating so much of history in a way that I find so disgusting and disheartening. It's easy to get down. That's why I was surprised to find so much hope in this book, from both George and his father. Their belief in and discussions about th This is such a moving book and I couldn't put it down. I wish it was just a book about something in our history, but sadly it isn't. Too many Americans don't know about the internment of Japanese-Americans, and as a country we haven't learned anything. We're repeating so much of history in a way that I find so disgusting and disheartening. It's easy to get down. That's why I was surprised to find so much hope in this book, from both George and his father. Their belief in and discussions about the power of democracy are inspiring and filled me with hope. You need to read this.
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  • Susan Morris
    January 1, 1970
    At times heartbreaking, but an amazing book telling the story of George Takei and other Japanese Americans interred during WWII, in a graphic novel format. Highly recommend. (Own)
  • Shannon Clark
    January 1, 1970
    Finished it before going to bed on day I bought it. 5 stars and should be read by every single American. Haunting and impactful and if you are a good person you will likely be in tears about what has been done in the past and what is being done today in our name (speaking as an American). I hope this becomes not just a bestseller this summer but a book that for years and decades to come is ready across America as a witness to our collective past.Seriously stunning and a book that should be requi Finished it before going to bed on day I bought it. 5 stars and should be read by every single American. Haunting and impactful and if you are a good person you will likely be in tears about what has been done in the past and what is being done today in our name (speaking as an American). I hope this becomes not just a bestseller this summer but a book that for years and decades to come is ready across America as a witness to our collective past.Seriously stunning and a book that should be required reading.
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  • Snow
    January 1, 1970
    There are some things that occur in this world that leave the world utterly speechless, and the Japanese-American internment camps are one of those horrors.Something about America that has always bothered me is how brushed aside the disgusting act of the government, OUR government, in detaining an entire race of people is. I remember being in school, wanting to know more about what happened in these camps, wanting to know why it happened other than "because the government deemed it to be the saf There are some things that occur in this world that leave the world utterly speechless, and the Japanese-American internment camps are one of those horrors.Something about America that has always bothered me is how brushed aside the disgusting act of the government, OUR government, in detaining an entire race of people is. I remember being in school, wanting to know more about what happened in these camps, wanting to know why it happened other than "because the government deemed it to be the safest thing for our country at the time, and they regretted it later". I am thankful to Takei for sharing his story from the mind's eye of his childhood self; this book is a pure representation of what it is like to look at things in retrospect and work hard to never let those things that happened to you happen to anyone else.The way this story is presented is done in such a way that the reader can truly begin to scratch the surface of what the world was like in the 1940s; a period where we usually only talk about the war. This book offers another point of reference in history, the part no one in the United States wants to remember because it would mean admitting that this country is not as great as everyone would like to pretend it is and has been in the past (newsflash: this country has never been 'great'). The detail with which Takei's narrative provides alongside graphic reference really forces the reader to reconcile with America's past transgressions against a group of innocent people. I am thankful for all that I have learned from this narrative.This book left me in empathetic tears; the tears I shed weren't over the writing style or the plot as they would be in a work of fiction (though I do deeply appreciate how raw and forthcoming Takei's style of writing is throughout this graphic novel depiction of the America of his childhood), but instead the tears I shed over this book were for the thousands of Japanese-Americans who suffered at the hands of a government that can never make up for their actions. There are so many in this world that deserve to be heard and change how we view the world, and this is one of them.Spoiler (can there be spoilers for real-world events?)At the end of this book, Takei depicts the internment camps we currently have in America; the camps holding children and mothers and fathers who have done nothing wrong but exist in a country that was meant to protect them. It is what happened to him and his family, and it's happening again. One can only pray and fight for the end of such horrors.I recommend that anyone who longs to even begin to understand injustices in society, whether it be current or past, to read this book. It's a quick read, and really puts things into perspective. Let us be the generation that prevents anything like this from ever happening again.
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  • Aletha
    January 1, 1970
    Any review I attempt to write for this book cannot do it justice - but I'll try my best. This story is beautiful, moving, and heart breaking. It's worth the read. More people should be aware of how our government managed to falsely and forcefully imprison Japanese people on the basis of racism. I'm disturbed about how I was never taught about this in my history classes. My family has taken many family trips up the 395, driving within distance of Manzanar and I had no idea what had actually happe Any review I attempt to write for this book cannot do it justice - but I'll try my best. This story is beautiful, moving, and heart breaking. It's worth the read. More people should be aware of how our government managed to falsely and forcefully imprison Japanese people on the basis of racism. I'm disturbed about how I was never taught about this in my history classes. My family has taken many family trips up the 395, driving within distance of Manzanar and I had no idea what had actually happened there. I believe the sign pointing toward Manzanar last time I saw it refers to a "relocation center" not "internment camp." I grew up 15 mins away from the Santa Anita racetrack and only recently found out within the last 10 years that it was used as a collection center for Japanese people before they were sent to the various camps. I've been so close to these places where a shameful and dark part of US history took place and had no idea! It makes me sad and embarrassed. My mother is an immigrant and even she knew what executive order 9066.Very happy that George Takei choose to write a book about his family and their experiences. It was insightful and chilling. I loved how the storytelling weaved back and forth in time. I was expecting this memoir to express some anger and resentment but I was completely wrong. I expected to be in tears the whole time. However, I found that while I was infuriated over the blatant and unfounded racism, there was something comforting about the actions of Mr. Takei's parents. Perhaps it was their trying to make the best of things or attempting to bring normalcy to their children's lives amidst living behind a barbed wire fence. After losing everything and being imprisoned with his family for 4 years, Mr. Takei's father still praised this country for its democracy.It's quite remarkable.The end of the book takes an interesting turn. I wasn't expecting it but I'm glad it's there. (Sorry, I'm to stay spoiler free!)Anyway 5 stars for this beautifully written book and thank you Mr.Takei for doing your part so that people do not forget what happened to the 120,000 people that were affected by 9066 and subsequent legislature that was fueled by racism, hysteria, and xenophobia.
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  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    “As with many traumatic experiences, they were anguished by their memories and haunted by shame for something that wasn’t their fault. Shame is a cruel thing. It should rest on the perpetrators ... but they don’t carry it the way victims do.” George Takei tells us his personal story in the early 1940’s when he and his family were forcibly removed from their homes following the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. At this time, FDR issued executive order 9066, ordering Japanese Americans to leave their hom “As with many traumatic experiences, they were anguished by their memories and haunted by shame for something that wasn’t their fault. Shame is a cruel thing. It should rest on the perpetrators ... but they don’t carry it the way victims do.” George Takei tells us his personal story in the early 1940’s when he and his family were forcibly removed from their homes following the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. At this time, FDR issued executive order 9066, ordering Japanese Americans to leave their homes to live in military isolation. Takei calls his experience incarceration, as barbed-wire fences haunt his childhood, but mentions in this memoir that they are often referred to as internment camps. Men in power spread their racist concern over every Japanese person due to their “non-assimilable” faces and racial traits that make it impossible to “discern disloyalty”. Every Japanese American is seen as a suspicious enemy of the United States. War is declared on Japan. A graphic novel format is perfect for this memoir. Takaei weaves his narrative through a Tedtalk, his visit to speak at the FDR Museum and Presidential Library on the 75th anniversary of exec order 9066 (as the Japanese call a Day of Remembrance), and his linear experience moving to two separate incarceration camps over the course of four years. The sweet, childlike illustrations match the innocence and wonder Takei mentions he felt with his brother at times and make this story easier to read especially in direct contrast to the grim reality of the situation and the melancholy feelings of his parents. This memoir is told in truths, our history repeats itself. The United States right now under Trump is a direct comparison to this timely graphic memoir. I definitely recommend this book.
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  • Amanda Sass-Henke
    January 1, 1970
    Happy book birthday to They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker.This graphic novel was sitting at my door today when I got home, and I read it in two hours.They Called Us Enemy is a memoir that tells the story of George Takei (known for his groundbreaking role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek as well as his activism for social justice) and his family’s imprisonment in two different internment camps during World War II. Jumping between the present day and Happy book birthday to They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker.This graphic novel was sitting at my door today when I got home, and I read it in two hours.They Called Us Enemy is a memoir that tells the story of George Takei (known for his groundbreaking role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek as well as his activism for social justice) and his family’s imprisonment in two different internment camps during World War II. Jumping between the present day and WWII, this is a text that belongs in all school and classroom libraries. (Honestly, though, if you know a middle grade/high school reader with an interest in WWII or social justice, they’d like this book.)I was mesmerized by this story. Tears definitely fell from my eyes, and I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end. I love that it is written as a graphic novel and adds another access point for kids to interact with this chapter of history. It also is a wonderful tribute to the Takei family and a haunting (and timely) reminder of the importance of learning from history’s mistakes.
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  • Ownbymom Ownby
    January 1, 1970
    In the same tradition as John Lewis's trio of graphic novels discussing his experience in the Civil Rights movement, George Takei discusses the internment of Japanese-American citizens of the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, under Executive Order 9066. Some of the questions raised by Takei are: Who gets to be "American"? Why is it important to look at the mistakes made in United States history? Is the discussion that comes from that kind of investigation positive, in the In the same tradition as John Lewis's trio of graphic novels discussing his experience in the Civil Rights movement, George Takei discusses the internment of Japanese-American citizens of the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, under Executive Order 9066. Some of the questions raised by Takei are: Who gets to be "American"? Why is it important to look at the mistakes made in United States history? Is the discussion that comes from that kind of investigation positive, in the sense that it will likely help us not make the same mistake again? Acknowledging that internment was based solely on race, President Reagan signed legislation that paved the way to restitution forty years after internment. He admitted wrongdoing on behalf of the country. Was that an act of strength or weakness on the part of the President? Can we love our country and admit mistakes at the same time? How might these questions be applied to our lives today?
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  • Evelyn
    January 1, 1970
    A stunning book that tells the story of a sad chapter in American history, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II due to their race and the specious and blatantly false belief that due to their ancestry they would be loyal to Japan rather than to their homeland, the United States, during a time of war. The book presents the story from the author’s vantage point as a child when he lived in the camps and memories of his discussions of the events with his father. It refers to subs A stunning book that tells the story of a sad chapter in American history, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II due to their race and the specious and blatantly false belief that due to their ancestry they would be loyal to Japan rather than to their homeland, the United States, during a time of war. The book presents the story from the author’s vantage point as a child when he lived in the camps and memories of his discussions of the events with his father. It refers to subsequent events in his life and how they were influenced as well as impacted by the events of his childhood.Least we forget our past, I highly recommend reading this book in light of current events because we cannot afford to repeat our past mistakes and destroy our democratic principles, as some seem intent on doing.
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  • Carrie G
    January 1, 1970
    This graphic memoir is just amazing! It so clearly and succinctly explains the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Takei seamlessly blends the present with the past, artifacts with memories. The format is clear and easy to follow. The artwork is beautiful. It's got everything!This graphic memoir would be wonderful to pair with the artwork of Estelle Ishigo or "Farewell to Manzanar" or "When the Emperor Was Divine."
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  • Virginia Walter
    January 1, 1970
    Takei and two other writers plus an illustrator tell the story of the actor's childhood experience in Japanese internment camps in California and Arkansas. There is a clear distinction between his childhood memories, which are happy ones, and his later adolescent and adult understanding of the injustice and suffering the government policies caused his family and other Japanese Americans. The reader can clearly see how both of his parents helped to shield their children from the harsh reality of Takei and two other writers plus an illustrator tell the story of the actor's childhood experience in Japanese internment camps in California and Arkansas. There is a clear distinction between his childhood memories, which are happy ones, and his later adolescent and adult understanding of the injustice and suffering the government policies caused his family and other Japanese Americans. The reader can clearly see how both of his parents helped to shield their children from the harsh reality of their circumstances when they were young and also to help them integrate those experiences into an adult perspective that incorporated forgiveness with an appreciation of the potential of American democracy.
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  • Calley Odum
    January 1, 1970
    If you aren't a fan of non-fiction, or you aren't a fan of reading.... even if you read *nothing else* this year... read this one. The pool of people who remember what it was like to live through WWII is getting smaller, and their stories will be lost. This is even more pressing for families like George Takei's, locked away in barbed wire and horse stalls for their Japanese heritage. It's an ugly part of American history; it isn't often taught in schools, and the generations that remember what i If you aren't a fan of non-fiction, or you aren't a fan of reading.... even if you read *nothing else* this year... read this one. The pool of people who remember what it was like to live through WWII is getting smaller, and their stories will be lost. This is even more pressing for families like George Takei's, locked away in barbed wire and horse stalls for their Japanese heritage. It's an ugly part of American history; it isn't often taught in schools, and the generations that remember what it's like to be unjustly imprisoned are dying. Do yourself, and the world a favor: Listen. Remember. Empathize. Because history is repeating itself right now.
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  • Daniel S.
    January 1, 1970
    ”Spring 1942, we were unloaded at Santa Anita Racetrack and herded to the stables. Each Family was assigned a horse stall still pungent with the stink of manure. As a kid, I couldn’t grasp the injustice of the situation. But for my parents, it was a devastating blow ... a degrading, humiliating, painful experience.”The author, George Takei, rose to fame through his role on Star Trek. But in 1942, he along with every other American of Japanese descent then living on the west coast was forcibly tr ”Spring 1942, we were unloaded at Santa Anita Racetrack and herded to the stables. Each Family was assigned a horse stall still pungent with the stink of manure. As a kid, I couldn’t grasp the injustice of the situation. But for my parents, it was a devastating blow ... a degrading, humiliating, painful experience.”The author, George Takei, rose to fame through his role on Star Trek. But in 1942, he along with every other American of Japanese descent then living on the west coast was forcibly transferred to an internment camp. In this graphic novel, he tells his family’s story and warns that some of the same prejudice that led to internment has “begun to resurface with brutal results.”
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  • Book Seller GV
    January 1, 1970
    Such an important history to know! It's one thing to be aware that the Internment Camps happened and what went on there, but seeing it from the eyes of a very young child was both chilling and amazing.Example: When they were being loaded onto the bus for Rohwer, they had large tags put around their necks, like cattle. Where the adults saw this as dehumanizing, little George innocently thought it was his ticket for the train.This is not only a tale of a dark time in our history, but a story of an Such an important history to know! It's one thing to be aware that the Internment Camps happened and what went on there, but seeing it from the eyes of a very young child was both chilling and amazing.Example: When they were being loaded onto the bus for Rohwer, they had large tags put around their necks, like cattle. Where the adults saw this as dehumanizing, little George innocently thought it was his ticket for the train.This is not only a tale of a dark time in our history, but a story of an amazing man (George's father) who did his best to better the quality of life for all in difficult circumstances. Amazingly relevant to what's happening today.
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  • Jean
    January 1, 1970
    I am so glad I ordered this book. I was never taught anything about the internment of Japanese citizens in school (throughout the 90s). I love that this is a mix of straight facts and dates and specifics and his experience as a child. I think that in situations like this it is easy to dehumanize the group being singled out and not see the human being making the best choices that they can in their situation. One can not read this and not connect to the humanity in it. This will go on my shelf of I am so glad I ordered this book. I was never taught anything about the internment of Japanese citizens in school (throughout the 90s). I love that this is a mix of straight facts and dates and specifics and his experience as a child. I think that in situations like this it is easy to dehumanize the group being singled out and not see the human being making the best choices that they can in their situation. One can not read this and not connect to the humanity in it. This will go on my shelf of materials to use as we homeschool our daughter to make sure it is not missed in her education as it was in mine.
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  • Jenna Iden
    January 1, 1970
    Yes yes yes yes yes.This clearly follows the tradition of John Lewis’s March, but in a way that’s far more accessible for younger readers. Like Takei’s (pronounces as in “okay”) social media presence, the tone of this book is nuanced, compassionate, joyous, and heartfelt. The parallels to today are made explicit at the end of the book, a connection I’m glad the authors did not shy away from or over politicize. This is for my students who are passionate about human rights, my students who are cur Yes yes yes yes yes.This clearly follows the tradition of John Lewis’s March, but in a way that’s far more accessible for younger readers. Like Takei’s (pronounces as in “okay”) social media presence, the tone of this book is nuanced, compassionate, joyous, and heartfelt. The parallels to today are made explicit at the end of the book, a connection I’m glad the authors did not shy away from or over politicize. This is for my students who are passionate about human rights, my students who are curious about the world they inhabit, and my students who read graphic novels as a way to unlock more complicated stories. I will be buying multiple copies for my classroom.
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  • Alyssa Geary
    January 1, 1970
    George Takei's "They Called Us Enemy" is a personal account of his experiences in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. It weaves George's experiences through most of his childhood, along with brief snippets of his career and activism during his adulthood. It is a touching and thought-provoking read that does make you consider the current injustices happening in our country today. Definitely a must-read for anyone who loves history or wants to learn more about this particular bit of George Takei's "They Called Us Enemy" is a personal account of his experiences in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. It weaves George's experiences through most of his childhood, along with brief snippets of his career and activism during his adulthood. It is a touching and thought-provoking read that does make you consider the current injustices happening in our country today. Definitely a must-read for anyone who loves history or wants to learn more about this particular bit of American history.
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