Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II (Large Print / Paperback)

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I’m not a neutral reviewer when it comes to Daniel James Brown's books. His The Boys in the Boat caused me much emotional upheaval. That his new book comes out now as Asian Americans face increasingly violent prejudice is an instance of poignant serendipity.

Facing the Mountain invokes another strong mix of feelings. Brown is a master at finding the emotional heart of real-life stories, and he succeeds again. Rather than painting WWII-era treatment of Japanese Americans with a broad brush, he focuses on specific Japanese Americans in-country and overseas. In doing so, I found myself much more personally invested in their fates.

We find ourselves entrenched both on the battlefields of WWII with a Japanese-American unit, and in the internment camps in the U.S. Imagine what bravery, what forgiveness it took to fight for the United States, even after its government had put your families in camps, and stripped them of their homes and businesses. Look no further than the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team for an example of putting country over self.

But not all battles were fought overseas. While their sons fight in Europe, their families are enduring the internment camps, and trying to make a life for the children imprisoned there as well. Brown doesn’t forget them. He also chronicles a brave protester taking on the legal system, fighting for Japanese American citizens’ rights at the risk of imprisonment. I had been aware of the internment camps, but not of those taking on the courts.

With violence against Asian Americans sadly on the rise, it's even more important for people to read this book and read the human Japanese stories behind one of our most shameful historic episodes. It’s on all of us to ensure such acts are not repeated.

About the Author


Daniel James Brown is the author of The Indifferent Stars Above and Under a Flaming Sky, which was a finalist for the B&N Discover Great New Writers Award, as well as The Boys in the Boat, a New York Times bestselling book that was awarded the ALA’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. He has taught writing at San José State University and Stanford University. He lives outside Seattle.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593414392
ISBN-10: 059341439X
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021
Pages: 832
Language: English