Friday, November 30, 2012

Then Wood Walls and Dear America: The Fences Between Us

The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II may not sound like great reading, but I just finished two novels on this subject; not only did I learn a lot, they are both really great books. First I read Thin Wood Walls, by David Patneaude, which was told from the point-of-view of Joe Hanada.  I found myself stopping during the reading to check if our country really treated people this horribly. Joe's story made me think about how this little-known piece of American history tells us a lot about who we are and where the country.  Then I started on Piper Davis' diary, The Fences Between Us by Kirby Larson. Although Piper wasn't a Japanese-American she still lived in and then near one of the internment camps, giving at different point-of -view. As I was reading these books I was horrified about how we treated the Japanese Americans and surprised to learn that, despite this, many of them still volunteered for military service. I think everyone should take the time to learn about this part of our history, and these are two great books to start with.

Thin Wood Walls Rating: *****
The Fences Between Us Rating: *****


  1. I'm reading "Christmas After All: 1932" from the Dear America series. I'd never heard of the series before I found this book. I'm looking forward to reading all of them in order!

  2. We recently had a guest from our B&B club who was part of the internment as a child. He remembers the internment as a sort of an adventure. I suspect that his parents were very creative in structuring his impressions. His father was a geologists and gained permission to take other internees on field trips into the dessert, perhaps keeping that sense of adventure and possibility alive for his broader community.

    I've also talked to Mr.George Kubuta who owns the hardware store in Metalaine Falls, the very last town in the north eastern corner of Washington state. When the government came to inter his family the citizens stepped forward and declared that George and his family were as American as anyone else and that the hardware store they operated was essential to the town. The Kubuta family was allowed to stay. When I asked George when he might retire, he said, "after that I could never leave this store or this town." Whenever people start talking about what makes America great, George's story is one that comes to mind.

    Thanks for posting about such a key lesson for all Americans.

  3. I’m really inspired every time I’m reading your blog – that’s a really cool resource in fact! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!