Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Review of "So Far From the Sea," by Eve Bunting

Review of

So Far From the Sea, by Eve Bunting ISBN 0439172411

Five out of five stars

 There are many dark features in the history of the United States, slavery with the subsequent Jim Crow rules and the near extermination of the Native Americans are two of the most prominent. One that was less deadly yet just as dark was the roundup of Japanese Americans after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In a moment of national hysteria, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 to collect all Japanese American and place them in what were de facto concentration camps. This order was made despite no evidence that the people of Japanese ancestry were any threat to the United States. The executive order was ultimately upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

 In general, the people that were rounded up lost all their possessions, there are many ugly stories of their neighbors running to pillage their possessions as soon as they boarded the transports. Most real estate the people of Japanese ancestry owned was then taken over by others and when they returned to claim their homes, they were generally unpleasantly rebuffed.

 This book revisits that dark time using the plot device of a modern Japanese family visiting the site where the father’s family was interned under 9066. Nearly all of the structures are gone, one of the few remaining is the one they came to see, the cemetery where the father’s father is buried. They place mementos on the grave, including a Cub Scout neckerchief. This had special significance, for the father was told to put on his Cub Scout uniform to greet the soldiers so that they would know that he was an American boy.

 Remembering the dark events of the past will always remain one of the best ways to prevent similar events in the future. Therefore, this book is an excellent educational device to demonstrate to modern schoolchildren one of the bad things that happened when there was a hysteria over a group of people that were “different.”

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