They Called Us Enemy

They Called Us Enemy

Graphic Novel - 2019
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Graphic novel memoir of George Takei's childhood imprisoned in American concentration camps for people of Japanese descent during World War II.
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.
Publisher: Marietta, Georgia : Top Shelf Productions, [2019]
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781603094504
Branch Call Number: B T1396T 2019
Characteristics: 204 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

In this graphic novel memoir, Star Trek actor and LGBTQ advocate shares the painful story of being imprisoned along with his family and 120,000 other Japanese Americans by the U.S. government during World War II.

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Oct 24, 2019

A graphic book written by the former StarTrek actor in which he reveals his personal history when he and his family were imprisoned by the US during WW2 because he and his family were of Japanese ancestry.

Aug 26, 2019

An affecting personal memoir which also provides more general information about the Japanese internment. It only becomes self-promoting at the very end.

Aug 23, 2019

If real people are portrayed in a graphic novel, one should be able to recognize them. Not in this book: FDR, for example, looks like a generic white man at a desk. The soldiers who come to evict the family appear to be Asian men. Bizarre and off-putting. I'd prefer a real book.

Aug 11, 2019

If you watched the original Star Trek series in the 1960s, George Takei played Mr. Sulu. It was one of the first positive portrayals of an Asian American in TV history.

What you may not know is that when George Takei was very young, he and his family were sent to two different internment camps during WWII. This graphic novel tells the story of his family’s experience during WWII and thereafter.

If you know nothing about the Japanese internment, or even if you do, this book is gripping. This is only my second graphic novel ever, but I think it is an especially effective medium to tell this story. This book allows the reader to imagine what it was like to be uprooted and sent far away to a miserable place, just because of racial identity. Most of the people interned were US citizens. None of these people had done any thing wrong. This is a particularly shameful event in our nation’s history.

Our country tried to pressure Japanese Americans into giving up their US citizenship so they could be deported to Japan. Many had never set foot in Japan.

George Takei grew up to be an activist, and the seeds of his activism were planted during the internment.

This book can be read fairly quickly, and it is well worth your time. There are certainly lessons that apply directly to events happening today in the US.


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