counter create hit Silver Like Dust: One Family's Story of America's Japanese Internment - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Silver Like Dust: One Family's Story of America's Japanese Internment

Availability: Ready to download

Sipping tea by the fire, preparing sushi for the family, or indulgently listening to her husband tell the same story for the hundredth time, Kimi Grant's grandmother, Obaachan, was a missing link to Kimi’s Japanese heritage, something she had had a mixed relationship with all her life. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, all Kimi ever wanted to do was fit in, spurning tradit Sipping tea by the fire, preparing sushi for the family, or indulgently listening to her husband tell the same story for the hundredth time, Kimi Grant's grandmother, Obaachan, was a missing link to Kimi’s Japanese heritage, something she had had a mixed relationship with all her life. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, all Kimi ever wanted to do was fit in, spurning traditional Japanese cuisine and her grandfather’s attempts to teach her the language. But there was one part of Obaachan’s life that had fascinated and haunted Kimi ever since the age of eleven—her gentle yet proud Obaachan had once been a prisoner, along with 112,000 Japanese Americans, for more than five years of her life. Obaachan never spoke of those years, and Kimi’s own mother only spoke of it in whispers. It was a source of haji, or shame. But what had really happened to Obaachan, then a young woman, and the thousands of other men, women, and children like her? Obaachan would meet her husband in the camps and watch her mother die there, too. From the turmoil, racism, and paranoia that sprang up after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the terrifying train ride to Heart Mountain, to the false promise of V-J Day, Silver Like Dust captures a vital chapter of the Japanese American experience through the journey of one remarkable woman. Her story is one of thousands, yet is a powerful testament to the enduring bonds of family and an unusual look at the American dream.


Compare

Sipping tea by the fire, preparing sushi for the family, or indulgently listening to her husband tell the same story for the hundredth time, Kimi Grant's grandmother, Obaachan, was a missing link to Kimi’s Japanese heritage, something she had had a mixed relationship with all her life. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, all Kimi ever wanted to do was fit in, spurning tradit Sipping tea by the fire, preparing sushi for the family, or indulgently listening to her husband tell the same story for the hundredth time, Kimi Grant's grandmother, Obaachan, was a missing link to Kimi’s Japanese heritage, something she had had a mixed relationship with all her life. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, all Kimi ever wanted to do was fit in, spurning traditional Japanese cuisine and her grandfather’s attempts to teach her the language. But there was one part of Obaachan’s life that had fascinated and haunted Kimi ever since the age of eleven—her gentle yet proud Obaachan had once been a prisoner, along with 112,000 Japanese Americans, for more than five years of her life. Obaachan never spoke of those years, and Kimi’s own mother only spoke of it in whispers. It was a source of haji, or shame. But what had really happened to Obaachan, then a young woman, and the thousands of other men, women, and children like her? Obaachan would meet her husband in the camps and watch her mother die there, too. From the turmoil, racism, and paranoia that sprang up after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the terrifying train ride to Heart Mountain, to the false promise of V-J Day, Silver Like Dust captures a vital chapter of the Japanese American experience through the journey of one remarkable woman. Her story is one of thousands, yet is a powerful testament to the enduring bonds of family and an unusual look at the American dream.

30 review for Silver Like Dust: One Family's Story of America's Japanese Internment

  1. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    In my high school social studies classes, no one ever once uttered the words "Japanese internment camp". In fact, I learned that our country rounded up and imprisoned the West Coast Japanese when I was in my mid-20s, and I found out because of a song by Fort Minor (a rap group), where the lead singer (Mike Shinoda) raps about his Japanese family being taken from Los Angeles to the Manzanar internment camp during WWII. I thought I was hearing the lyrics wrong, but after I listened more closely, I In my high school social studies classes, no one ever once uttered the words "Japanese internment camp". In fact, I learned that our country rounded up and imprisoned the West Coast Japanese when I was in my mid-20s, and I found out because of a song by Fort Minor (a rap group), where the lead singer (Mike Shinoda) raps about his Japanese family being taken from Los Angeles to the Manzanar internment camp during WWII. I thought I was hearing the lyrics wrong, but after I listened more closely, I got the picture. I couldn't believe it. This book tells the experience of the author's grandmother and her family being taken from their home in Los Angeles to a temporary camp in Pomona, CA (where the LA County Fair is now held - I went last year, and in retrospect that's kind of eerie). They stayed there while the permanent camp in Wyoming was finished and made ready for its occupants. There, her grandmother married and had her first child. The Japanese were there for just shy of three years before being released. The author really paints a picture of what it was like back then, complete with many, many references and quotes from publications of that time period. It shocked me how racist our country was back then, and how blatant our media and government was in expressing this. Without this historical information, I wouldn't have had the full picture of what life was like for the Japanese then. This book should be on the reading list of every high school kid everywhere. It is informative, extremely interesting (I couldn't put it down), and historically important.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carol Wakefield

    I enjoyed the book moderately. There are other books about this unfortunate period of history that cover it better. Kimis grandmother does not really wish to recount her experiences in the internment camp and kimi slowly pulls some stories from her over a period of years. So the actual camp experiences recounted do not cover a lot of the writing. Kimi adds facts from world war II and much of her own meandering, sometimes repeating herself. I prefer nonfiction but think this story, with little ac I enjoyed the book moderately. There are other books about this unfortunate period of history that cover it better. Kimis grandmother does not really wish to recount her experiences in the internment camp and kimi slowly pulls some stories from her over a period of years. So the actual camp experiences recounted do not cover a lot of the writing. Kimi adds facts from world war II and much of her own meandering, sometimes repeating herself. I prefer nonfiction but think this story, with little actual content might have been better fleshed out with some imagination. I found the grandmother to be a wonderful character though. And the book would bea good introduction to those unacquainted with the Japanese internment time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    I couldn't decide on two or three stars for this one. The subject is always interesting to me. I appreciate that she brought up the situations where the families were separated and never really connected again besides the occasional birthday card. Many books end with the release of the internees and don't consider the long-term effects on the families. My objection with the book is the writing style. Odd details are included and are distracting. I'm not sure why the reader needs to know what the I couldn't decide on two or three stars for this one. The subject is always interesting to me. I appreciate that she brought up the situations where the families were separated and never really connected again besides the occasional birthday card. Many books end with the release of the internees and don't consider the long-term effects on the families. My objection with the book is the writing style. Odd details are included and are distracting. I'm not sure why the reader needs to know what the author and her grandmother ate a Thai restaurant and that the waiter approved of their choices.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I really enjoyed this book as well as informed by it. I thought it was recommended by a friend of mine but as it turns out, she was referring to a different book. I'm glad I made the "mistake"! I really enjoyed this book as well as informed by it. I thought it was recommended by a friend of mine but as it turns out, she was referring to a different book. I'm glad I made the "mistake"!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barbara H

    Kimi Grant has written of her grandmother's internment as a Japanese American citizen at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. during WW II. More than 112,000 people were relocated for around five years.Although she has clearly covered the formidable situation for these people during their forced confinement, the major stress of this book is family and the relationship between the granddaughter and the elder grandmother.It was a sweet, poignant story. Grant attempted to impart the outrageous situation for the Kimi Grant has written of her grandmother's internment as a Japanese American citizen at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. during WW II. More than 112,000 people were relocated for around five years.Although she has clearly covered the formidable situation for these people during their forced confinement, the major stress of this book is family and the relationship between the granddaughter and the elder grandmother.It was a sweet, poignant story. Grant attempted to impart the outrageous situation for these detainees, but it seemed to be tangential to her family's story. Certainly their experiences at Heart Mountain influenced their lifelong attitudes and behaviors. Although much more limited in scope, the brief, When the Emperor Was Divine, conveyed more sensitive difficulties. Also, Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment, touchingly disclosed the indignities of their imprisonments. How unbelievable and brave it was to read of the many Japanese American men, who despite the government's unfair treatment, fought valiantly for America, viewed by all as their country, during the war. Overall, I did enjoy reading this account.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Essentially, this is the story of a young woman trying to better connect with her heritage and forge a closer relationship with her grandmother through querying her grandmother about her experiences in internment during WWII. While this is an important part of history that gets too little coverage in education and general history books of the era, this particular account is not all that rich in detail. The grandmother is clearly reluctant to relive some parts of a painful past, and the granddaug Essentially, this is the story of a young woman trying to better connect with her heritage and forge a closer relationship with her grandmother through querying her grandmother about her experiences in internment during WWII. While this is an important part of history that gets too little coverage in education and general history books of the era, this particular account is not all that rich in detail. The grandmother is clearly reluctant to relive some parts of a painful past, and the granddaughter's constant pressuring for more information seems rather insensitive at times. Added to that, Kimi Cunningham Grant just isn't all that good a writer - she wanders off on tangents, spends inordinate amounts of time on entirely irrelevant details, repeats herself a lot, all of which sapped my patience.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Informative and interesting. Loved it!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karyl

    As a fan of George Takei on Facebook, I was well aware that America sent residents of Japanese descendents living on the West Coast to internment camps inland. What I didn't really realize was the blatant racism the Japanese had encountered for years, both well before and during WWII. Initially, as the only Asian group to have immigrated to the US, the Chinese were the ones who experienced this prejudice. It was felt that the Chinese were coming to the States to steal jobs from white men, a sent As a fan of George Takei on Facebook, I was well aware that America sent residents of Japanese descendents living on the West Coast to internment camps inland. What I didn't really realize was the blatant racism the Japanese had encountered for years, both well before and during WWII. Initially, as the only Asian group to have immigrated to the US, the Chinese were the ones who experienced this prejudice. It was felt that the Chinese were coming to the States to steal jobs from white men, a sentiment I see now as a modern 21st century woman, regarding Mexican immigrants in the border states. Apparently things don't change much, even in a hundred years. But that racism felt by the Chinese was easily transferred over to the Japanese once the emperor opens the borders of his nation and allowed his people to emigrate to the States. The Japanese weren't allowed to visit the public pools. They weren't allowed to sit on the first floor of the movie theatre, but were relegated to the balcony with the other marginalized groups, the blacks and Mexicans and Chinese. They weren't even allowed to shop at the small, mom & pop stores owned by whites. They had to stay in Little Tokyo or shop at the large department stores. Yet they accepted this, as they accepted the transfer to the internment camps, as their lot in life. The Japanese felt that the best way to serve their new nation was just to keep their heads down and not make a fuss, even with their rights being trampled on all over the place. It makes this 21st century American a little ashamed of her nation. That said, there isn't a whole lot in this book regarding the internment camps. Ms Grant has to pull the memories from her grandmother, called Obaachan, in small stages over several years because she is such a private woman. The author makes up for that by dropping in small anecdotes about some of the other inmates (like the Japanese cowboy and the white woman who had chosen to accompany her Japanese husband to the camp), but even still, she mentions them and that's about it. I wonder if the author could have done more research, contacted more people from her grandmother's camp, to find out more information about some of these people, especially the white American imprisoned with her husband. Ms Grant also uses this book to tell the reader about her blossoming relationship with her grandmother, who had always been in the shadows throughout her childhood behind her loquacious grandfather. But I found her conjectures about her grandmother, done because her grandmother just wouldn't share certain things, even sixty years later, to be a bit distracting. Of course, Ms Grant would have reacted differently in such situations, as a modern woman who may have felt different growing up, being half-Japanese, from her white classmates, but who hadn't been exposed to such virulent racism ("Kill all the Japs!") that her grandmother had dealt with in the 1930s and 40s. At any rate, this is a very eye-opening book, and I think it needs to be discussed that Americans imprisoned Japanese, and even American citizens of Japanese descent, in this camps. I know my history class didn't really discuss this issue when I was in high school. I'll be looking for more books on this subject.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kimi Loughlin

    I enjoyed this book enormously mostly for personal reasons that I will get in to below. For the general reader, it is a great account of the Japanese American internment experience during WWII. What makes it different and exceptional was that it is told from the perspective of the mixed race granddaughter who is learning the details of her Obaachan's (grandmother's) experiences in the camps for the first time. Kimi Cunningham Grant is able to give the history while also highlighting the cultural I enjoyed this book enormously mostly for personal reasons that I will get in to below. For the general reader, it is a great account of the Japanese American internment experience during WWII. What makes it different and exceptional was that it is told from the perspective of the mixed race granddaughter who is learning the details of her Obaachan's (grandmother's) experiences in the camps for the first time. Kimi Cunningham Grant is able to give the history while also highlighting the cultural and generational divide in so many Japanese American families. Like Grant says, the majority of Japanese Americans interned the in the camps faced the situation with resolve and the "characteristic Japanese mentality of shikataganai. Whatever happens, happens.". Many lived their lives with a deep sense of haji, or shame, about who they were and where they or their ancestors came from because of Japan's involvement in WWII and the United States' response to it. This caused them to not talk about their experiences in the camps so many children and grandchildren of the interned know very little about it. Grant is able to unfurl the story of her Obaachan while also showing us her experience of getting her Obaachan to open up. It reads beautifully and quickly and I highly recommend. Now, on to the personal stuff... I cannot explain how fulfilling it was to read a book by an author with my same first name. I know that sounds weird but when you are a mixed race child who grew up a town that was 98.9% white, encountering another Kimi is rare, especially another Kimi that is also mixed Irish American and Japanese American. I identified with every word in this book which, though I have identified with other books, was so inspiring because for the first time, I saw ME. Not the various personality traits that could be me but the cultural, genetic, racial, and historical facts that mirror my life in a way I haven't seen yet. My family history and life parallel a lot with this author, though off by a generation. I am also a child of a Japanese American woman and an Irish American man. I was raised in a town where my brothers, mother, and I were 4 of only a few people of color. I resonated a LOT with Grant's thoughts that "It was not an ideal place for me to sort out issues of racial identity". In fact, I am just now coming into my own racial identity (helped along by reading books by and about Japanese Americans throughout 2018, a list that this book was a part of). I, too, am named after a family member (my grandfather's mother) and have a name that reflects my mixed heritage: Kimi (Japanese) Loughlin (Irish). My grandparents and great grandparents are also very emotionally reserved and don't often outwardly express love towards me or my brothers. Both my grandparents were interned with their respective families, my grandfather as a 1st grader and my grandmother as an infant. The similarities are endless and I felt so much joy and "rightness" reading this memoir. Thank you, Kimi Cunningham Grant!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frederick

    This book is the sort of book I like to read. It is a character study of the author's grandmother and grandfather. While it has led me to other books about the Japanese American internment, its strengths are in its descriptions of family dynamics. In a relatively brief space, author Kimi Cunningham Grant conveys the inner lives of her outgoing grandfather and quiet grandmother. The man Kimi adored as a child, who overshadowed the grandmother she thought so cold, turns out to have been an exactin This book is the sort of book I like to read. It is a character study of the author's grandmother and grandfather. While it has led me to other books about the Japanese American internment, its strengths are in its descriptions of family dynamics. In a relatively brief space, author Kimi Cunningham Grant conveys the inner lives of her outgoing grandfather and quiet grandmother. The man Kimi adored as a child, who overshadowed the grandmother she thought so cold, turns out to have been an exacting taskmaster as a husband, cowing the wife who had sacrificed so much of her independence for him. What strikes me is Grant's ability to show her dawning realization, as she gets to know her grandmother in adult life, that her grandparents' marriage was not what it seemed to her as a child. This is not to discount the backdrop to the story: The United States government's flagrant violation of the rights of 120,000 citizens and resident aliens within its borders during the Second World War. On a personal note, my own mother, who grew up in Palos Verdes, California, often told me about what happened to the Japanese American students in her school after Pearl Harbor. She was fourteen. Within months half the students were gone; forced to go to internment camps. My mother kept up a correspondence with a friend of hers who had gone to a camp. One day her friend wrote her asking her not to send any more letters. I asked my mother if her friend gave a reason for this. She said the mere fact of the correspondence was making things difficult for her friend. Kimi Cunningham Grant points out that it was obvious to the prisoners that their mail was being read by the authorities. This book is also about Grant's gentle efforts to gain her grandmother's trust. Broaching the subject of her time as a prisoner of her own government was difficult. In relating the story of her grandmother's gradual opening up, Grant shows us the contrast between her grandmother in her eighties (widowed within the last ten years) and her grandmother as a young woman. It is not so much that her grandmother changed, but that the world around her changed drastically. But certain things have not changed, and SILVER LIKE DUST shows these things realistically.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shari Larsen

    This is the true story of Kimi Grant's grandmother, who spent the years of World War 2 in a Japanese internment camp in Wyoming, along with her parents. She also met her husband in that camp, and gave birth to her first child there. As a child, Kimi had a mixed relationship with her Japanese heritage; she resisted her grandfather's efforts to teach her the language. Growing up in Pennsylvania, she just wanted to fit in with the other kids, but as she grew into a young woman, she started to wonder This is the true story of Kimi Grant's grandmother, who spent the years of World War 2 in a Japanese internment camp in Wyoming, along with her parents. She also met her husband in that camp, and gave birth to her first child there. As a child, Kimi had a mixed relationship with her Japanese heritage; she resisted her grandfather's efforts to teach her the language. Growing up in Pennsylvania, she just wanted to fit in with the other kids, but as she grew into a young woman, she started to wonder about her grandmother's life in the camp. It was something her grandmother never talked about, and Kimi's own mother only spoke of it in whispers, as it was a source of shame for her. Kimi never felt close to her grandmother growing up, but once she started visiting her in her home in Florida to start learning and writing about that time in the family history, they began to bond, and Kimi could finally understand how the experience shaped her grandmother's personality and outlook on life. I feel that the author did a great job in drawing the stories out of her grandmother, letting her tell them at her own pace and at the same time, respecting her need to keep some details private. I also liked the way their relationships to each other grew and how you could feel Kimi's appreciation for her grandmother. It was interesting to read about the Japanese culture in America at that time, and why so many willingly went along with something that was so blatantly unfair. It also saddened me, how so many felt a sense of shame when they didn't do anything wrong. This was a shameful chapter of American history, and I feel it's important that voices such as the author's grandmother be heard. It's also shameful that so many other Americans at that time did not speak out against the treatment of their fellow citizens, and let this go on. But then, America was still very racist at that time, so it's really not surprising either.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I often get interested in a topic (particularly a historical event) and want to read as much as I can to try to understand it. This has been the case for me recently with the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. I have known it happened for many years and read a couple of books about it during college, but it is hard to understand how our nation allowed this to happen in such recent history. Through my reading, I have learned more about the details of the internment as well as some of t I often get interested in a topic (particularly a historical event) and want to read as much as I can to try to understand it. This has been the case for me recently with the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. I have known it happened for many years and read a couple of books about it during college, but it is hard to understand how our nation allowed this to happen in such recent history. Through my reading, I have learned more about the details of the internment as well as some of the motivation behind it. This knowledge is important because if we are to prevent something similar from happening in the present or future, we have to know about the past. This is a true story of the author's grandparents internment. She spends time interviewing her grandmother and getting her to talk about her experiences in the camps. I was particularly interested in her explanation of shikataganai...the belief that when bad things happen, you accept them and make the best of them. And her eventual realization that this allowed those interned to not only survive the ordeal but to improve their situation when possible and to remain compassionate and human rather than becoming bitter and angry and shriveled. Her grandmother was a young adult when they were interned at Heart Mountain. She met her husband in the camp at Pomona, they married and had their first child at Heart Mountain. Some of the things that stood out to me: the lack of privacy in the bathrooms as well as in their living quarters, the uncertainty...not knowing how long they would be there or what they would find when they returned home (ultimately, they decided not to return to California but to take a job offered them in New Jersey). The fear that her child might live his whole life inside the camp. Living in such a small space with so few belongings for such a long time. The difficulty of filling out the questionnaire about loyalty to the US.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Clarke Gunter

    This is a well-written and personal account of one of the most shameful episodes in American history: the imprisonment of Japanese-American civilian citizens during World War II. The author's grandparents, along with many thousands of Japanese-American citizens, were required to leave their homes, businesses, and most of their belongings and were taken to prison camps in remote areas of the United States, even though these people were American citizens and had done nothing wrong. In this book, t This is a well-written and personal account of one of the most shameful episodes in American history: the imprisonment of Japanese-American civilian citizens during World War II. The author's grandparents, along with many thousands of Japanese-American citizens, were required to leave their homes, businesses, and most of their belongings and were taken to prison camps in remote areas of the United States, even though these people were American citizens and had done nothing wrong. In this book, the author slowly gets her reticent 80 year-old grandmother to tell the story of everyday life in a prison camp where she and her husband lived for about 3 years. While I enjoyed this book, I feel that it is only a very perfunctory look at the awfulness of being rounded up and sent to prison by the government and country that these people called their own. The grandmother, like most Japanese people, is very reluctant to talk about personal experiences, but the author does manage to slowly draw out parts of her story over a period of a few years. There is a sweetness to the book as the author and her grandmother become closer during the many visits and interviews necessary to gather the story for this book. The author also learns much about her deceased grandfather that she did not know, not all of it good. An enjoyable book but one that requires follow-up reading to get a fuller picture of these historical events.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Crawford

    This is another book dealing with the internment of the persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast during World War II. It's told in a different way that other books I have read as the woman telling the story interviews her grandmother who was in the Heart Mountain camp. She uses the term "concentration camp" in reference to the various camps that housed the Japanese Americans and the Issei Japanese who were not allowed to have American citizenship. The book talks about the anti-Japanese pr This is another book dealing with the internment of the persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast during World War II. It's told in a different way that other books I have read as the woman telling the story interviews her grandmother who was in the Heart Mountain camp. She uses the term "concentration camp" in reference to the various camps that housed the Japanese Americans and the Issei Japanese who were not allowed to have American citizenship. The book talks about the anti-Japanese prejudice and other matters that give the book a solid historical background. We find out about her grandmother's marriage and how, at least in my opinion, she was mentally abused by her husband. The book also looks at the daily life in the camp and the various problems encountered there and the infamous questionnaire problem. There's also some about the Japanese culture of the time, how the nearby town felt about the camp, the 442nd Combat Regiment and it's wonderful work during the war and various other topics. This all is personalized by the grandmother and makes the book quite interesting.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    Kimi, a high school English teacher who is half-Japanese, wants to write a book about her grandparents' experiences at Heart Mountain Internment Camp for Japanese citizens during WWII. However, she doesn't know her grandmother well and this time in their history was never spoken of while Kimi was growing up. Kimi must visit her grandmother in Florida and forge a relationship with her to get her story, and the book ends up not only being about the internment camp but about a grandmother and gra Kimi, a high school English teacher who is half-Japanese, wants to write a book about her grandparents' experiences at Heart Mountain Internment Camp for Japanese citizens during WWII. However, she doesn't know her grandmother well and this time in their history was never spoken of while Kimi was growing up. Kimi must visit her grandmother in Florida and forge a relationship with her to get her story, and the book ends up not only being about the internment camp but about a grandmother and granddaughter reaching out to one another and becoming close. This was a very well-written tribute to grandparents who suffered the indignities of being removed from their innocent lives during a time in our country's history that was shameful, it understandable at the time, as well as the story of a wonderful, strong lady and her adult granddaughter forging a friendship.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Meg Marie

    After a lifetime of not really being close with her Japanese-American grandmother, Kimi Cunningham Grant decides to begin interviewing her grandma about her life as a young girl and what life was life at the Heart Mountain internment camp during WWII. The book is half about her grandma's life and her story, with the rest focusing on how the relationship between Kimi and her grandma developed and deepened, and the history of racial prejudice against the Japanese in America. A very touching read. After a lifetime of not really being close with her Japanese-American grandmother, Kimi Cunningham Grant decides to begin interviewing her grandma about her life as a young girl and what life was life at the Heart Mountain internment camp during WWII. The book is half about her grandma's life and her story, with the rest focusing on how the relationship between Kimi and her grandma developed and deepened, and the history of racial prejudice against the Japanese in America. A very touching read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I found this book perfectly written. It touched on all aspects of what went on in America during World War ll without dragging or being too biased. The author moved swiftly from past to present connecting both effortlessy. She told the story of her family, mainly her obaachan(grandma) , without disrespecting anyone like she promises in the book but still manages to write a very informative story. I could have read about her family and Heart Mountain forever if the book hadn't ended. It is a sad I found this book perfectly written. It touched on all aspects of what went on in America during World War ll without dragging or being too biased. The author moved swiftly from past to present connecting both effortlessy. She told the story of her family, mainly her obaachan(grandma) , without disrespecting anyone like she promises in the book but still manages to write a very informative story. I could have read about her family and Heart Mountain forever if the book hadn't ended. It is a sad story, but one filled with hope, perseverence and, at the end success.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary Louise Sanchez

    As an adult,the author gradually interviews her grandmother, and learns about the Japanese American experience at Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming for Japanese Americans in WWII, and learns more about her family history; but also forges a stronger relationship with the grandmother she has finally come to really know. I had just read Heart Mountain-Life in Wyoming's Concentration Camp by Mike Mackey and was able to continue the journey through the author's family experiences in this crea As an adult,the author gradually interviews her grandmother, and learns about the Japanese American experience at Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming for Japanese Americans in WWII, and learns more about her family history; but also forges a stronger relationship with the grandmother she has finally come to really know. I had just read Heart Mountain-Life in Wyoming's Concentration Camp by Mike Mackey and was able to continue the journey through the author's family experiences in this creative non-fiction biography.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    I find it difficult to categorize this magnificent work. Silver Like Dust is a combination of memoir and biography with a bit of history thrown in. Easily read this is a narrative of a young woman's 'interviews' of her grandmother about the concentration (internment) camps our democracy set up for Japanese Americans who were resident on the West Coast when World War II broke out. However in doing so, the author reveals not just generational differences but also cultural differences. I find it difficult to categorize this magnificent work. Silver Like Dust is a combination of memoir and biography with a bit of history thrown in. Easily read this is a narrative of a young woman's 'interviews' of her grandmother about the concentration (internment) camps our democracy set up for Japanese Americans who were resident on the West Coast when World War II broke out. However in doing so, the author reveals not just generational differences but also cultural differences.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I had to read this for my history class, but it was actually a very interesting and well written memoir. It's unfortunately easy to forget that the U. S. had internment camps during World War II, and right now I'm only miles away from the one discussed in this book, Heart Mountain. It was a somber book, but I feel it is good to learn about these events, so that perhaps they won't be repeated again. I had to read this for my history class, but it was actually a very interesting and well written memoir. It's unfortunately easy to forget that the U. S. had internment camps during World War II, and right now I'm only miles away from the one discussed in this book, Heart Mountain. It was a somber book, but I feel it is good to learn about these events, so that perhaps they won't be repeated again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Disappointed with the flow of the book. Hoped it would read more like a story and less like a conversation by the author about her grandmother. The book gave historical background but I wanted to hear more about the feelings of those interned in the camps in order to feel more of those being there.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Read this! This book was amazing for so many reasons. First off- it's a wonderful read. Well written, evokes emotion, and tells a great story. Second- I learned so much. I knew about the Japanese Camps in the US during WWII but I never knew nearly enough to understand the immensity and historical importance. A truly great book- I highly recommend it. Read this! This book was amazing for so many reasons. First off- it's a wonderful read. Well written, evokes emotion, and tells a great story. Second- I learned so much. I knew about the Japanese Camps in the US during WWII but I never knew nearly enough to understand the immensity and historical importance. A truly great book- I highly recommend it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan Patterson

    Loved this book! Written by the grand daughter of a second generation Japanese woman about her family's experience during WWII. She brings out her grandmother's personality so well you will think you know her. A little known part of US history that will appall you! Loved this book! Written by the grand daughter of a second generation Japanese woman about her family's experience during WWII. She brings out her grandmother's personality so well you will think you know her. A little known part of US history that will appall you!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    An interesting read but not especially captivating in terms of character development. It's a memoir once-removed and so it feels a little unemotional and distant. But as the wife of a Japanese American whose mother was interned, I find that emotional distance to be uniquely Japanese. An interesting read but not especially captivating in terms of character development. It's a memoir once-removed and so it feels a little unemotional and distant. But as the wife of a Japanese American whose mother was interned, I find that emotional distance to be uniquely Japanese.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    An interesting and easy read about Japanese internment camps in America, something I previously knew little about. I was esp. intrigued to learn about how dramatic the civil rights violations were. For instance, people of Japanese descent had to turn in their radios and their assets were frozen, then they were ultimately sent to these camps--even though the majority were actually American citizens born in the US. Think about that. The nature of the camps, too, seemed a little odd. The toilets an An interesting and easy read about Japanese internment camps in America, something I previously knew little about. I was esp. intrigued to learn about how dramatic the civil rights violations were. For instance, people of Japanese descent had to turn in their radios and their assets were frozen, then they were ultimately sent to these camps--even though the majority were actually American citizens born in the US. Think about that. The nature of the camps, too, seemed a little odd. The toilets and showers didn't have curtains or doors, yet the camp had a library and a couple movie theaters, and it even created a makeshift skating rink for the inhabitants. I only wish the book could have been a bit more detailed; the story focused on the faded memories of the author's grandmother. Some kindle quotes: my grandmother was one of 112,000 Japanese Americans who were displaced during the war. I knew that she was twenty years old when she was torn from her home in Los Angeles and shipped off to prison, and that she spent four months living in a barn at the Pomona Fairgrounds while the permanent camp in Wyoming was being finished. And I knew it was in prison that she met and married my grandfather, and gave birth to her first child, my uncle Charles. I knew, also, that after two years in that dusty Wyoming prison, she was desperate to leave, and did, when the opportunity came, but in doing so, missed the final days of her mother’s life—something she still seemed to feel guilty about. - location 76 it was not until 1954 that Asian immigrants could become naturalized citizens. California’s 1913 Alien Land Law prohibited noncitizens from owning land, but Papa and Mama, like many Japanese families, sidestepped the stipulations of this law by deeding the house in the names of their children, who had been born in the United States and were therefore rightful citizens. - location 177 “At the movie theatres, there were two levels: the first floor, and a balcony. Mama used to take us to matinees, before she got sick. I don’t know if it was a law or if the studios just had a policy, but I know that I was always seated in the balcony, with the blacks and Mexicans, and other Japanese and Chinese, and that I never once sat on the first floor. Only the hakujin sat down there.” There were similar rules with other public areas. The roller-skating rink was only open to Japanese on Sunday nights; they could not go any other day of the week. They were only permitted to use public tennis courts on Sundays as well. And they were not allowed to swim in public pools. “I remember that the Rafu Shimpo, the Japanese newspaper in LA, would have a large sports section on Mondays,” Obaachan says. “Only one day of the week because all the Japanese sporting events were held on Sundays. It was the only day we were allowed to use public areas for things like tennis.” - location 234 As I listen to my grandmother talk, I cannot help noticing the contradiction—the odd and complicated problem of what preceded what. Japanese immigrants were not legally allowed to become citizens. They were not hired by white employers. They were not permitted to integrate in social spheres. And yet they were criticized by the public and the media for just that: for not fitting in, for keeping to themselves, for not being “bona fide citizens,” for not being American. - location 243 Obaachan’s brother Ren went to work at his pharmacy and was asked, without explanation, to resign from his position at Fresno Air Force Base. In a single day, his schooling, testing, and hard work were stripped from him. No longer welcome on base, he returned to Los Angeles, and moved back into his parents’ house. Two months later, he would be drafted into the US Army, and leave for basic training in Arkansas. Obaachan’s family chose not to view Ren’s losing his job as an insult. They chose also to accept without bitterness the irony of his being drafted just a few months after Fresno had asked him to leave. - location 470 These are questions I cannot sort out aloud, and issues I cannot take up with Obaachan. She would feel criticized somehow, and, more importantly, misunderstood. She would smack her lips in that disapproving way and shake her head in frustration. And because she believed at the time that it was her duty as an American citizen to get hauled out of Los Angeles without a complaint, my failure to sympathize and understand might even seem to belittle what she sacrificed. - location 486 Friends of my grandmother’s family began getting rid of belongings that might imply disloyalty: paintings from Japan, for example, or tiny statues of Buddha. They also draped American flags from their porches, hung pictures of great patriots like Washington and Lincoln on their walls, and posted signs that claimed in bold capital letters, “I AM AN AMERICAN” in their storefronts. - location 561 Henry McLemore, a syndicated newspaper columnist, told his readers: I am for immediate removal of every Japanese on the West Coast to a point deep in the interior. I don’t mean a nice part of the interior either. Herd ’em up, pack ’em off and give ’em the inside room in the badlands. Let ’em be pinched, hurt, hungry and dead up against it … Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that goes for all of them. A journalist in Obaachan’s city echoed these feelings in the Los Angeles Times on February 2: “A viper is nonetheless a viper wherever the egg is hatched. So a Japanese-American … grows up to be a Japanese, not an American.” - location 578 In the early months of 1942, the authorities started urging Japanese families to leave their West Coast homes and move east, away from the volatile Pacific. They called it a “voluntary evacuation,” implying that those folks who chose to leave would be doing so for their own safety. But, with their financial resources frozen, how were these Japanese, whose mere appearance by this point both frightened and enraged many hakujin Americans, supposed to relocate and start over? How much success would they find in wandering into, say, an Oklahoma town, and attempting to open a business and buy a house? - location 589 Shortly after the Five-Mile Curfew was passed, though, a more troubling announcement was made: all people of Japanese ancestry were to go to the police and hand in their guns, swords, and shortwave radios. - location 621 Though few Japanese families possessed guns and even fewer owned swords, those who did have a samurai sword hanging on a living-room wall were forced to give up something of great sentimental value. Obaachan’s family did not have any—they were not from that social class—but she was still aware of the significance of these swords. In addition to their monetary value, samurai swords were family heirlooms. In Japan, the samurai always came from the highest social class, and so having a sword to hang on the wall was not only a piece of history but also a status symbol, a reminder of a family’s high social rank in the old land. - location 630 A few Nisei, or second-generation Japanese, mostly young men educated in American universities, pointed out in Rafu Shimpo editorials that as US citizens, they had the right to bear arms according to the Constitution. The government ignored the argument, which did not inspire protests or civil disobedience on the part of Japanese Americans or their neighbors. - location 636 Her mother’s heart condition further complicated those preparations. First, there was the decision as to whether or not she should even go along. Her doctors had spoken with the authorities and had obtained special permission for her to stay behind in Los Angeles. She would simply live in the hospital as a long-term patient. To an extent, knowing Mama was in the hands of qualified physicians would be reassuring to Papa. After all, there might not be doctors, hospitals, clean facilities, or beds where they were going. The conditions might be too harsh; the weather, too severe. In fact, the trip itself might be too much for her. The doctors had warned from the start that even under the strictest supervision and the most ideal circumstances, Mama’s weak heart would not last long. But on the other hand, the idea of leaving her behind was deeply unsettling; there was no guarantee that they would or could come back. Ever. And in the meantime, would the family be able to keep in touch with her? If her health grew worse, would someone contact Papa? Would he be able to come say goodbye? Would the family ever see her again? - location 753 While many people chose to store their furniture and appliances in governmentrun warehouses, Papa wanted to avoid having to do that. The posted instructions made it clear that there would be no guarantees regarding items left in those warehouses: “The United States Government through its agencies will provide for the storage at the sole risk of the owner of the more substantial household items, such as iceboxes, washing machines, pianos and other heavy furniture …” What that meant, Papa understood, was that there was no way of knowing whether those things would be there when he returned. Instead, he found a tenant to rent his house, fully furnished: a minister, an African American man whose church was nearby. As soon as the family found out where they would be sent and what their mailing address would be, Papa would contact the minister. For his part, the minister promised to send the agreed-upon amount each month by a certain date. Papa felt good about the deal. Compared to many Japanese, who had no choice but to sell off their farms and belongings for far less than their worth, he had not made such a bad arrangement. “None of our non-Japanese neighbors were willing to help,” Obaachan says, shaking her head and setting her fork on her plate. “They wouldn’t store things for us, or assist in any way. These were people we’d known for years, people who’d watched my siblings and me grow up. But all of a sudden, they wanted nothing to do with us. We were on our own.” - location 769 I remember my grandfather talking about these early days in America, and how he described being on a streetcar, and seeing for the first time someone with blonde hair. “I was sitting behind this young woman with yellow hair,” he told us children. “I wanted so badly to touch it!” He wondered if it felt different from his own. In Japan, there was only one color of hair, black, so he wasn’t sure the woman’s yellow locks were real. - location 1214 in November, the authorities distributed a questionnaire—to all prisoners, both male and female—called an Application for Leave Clearance. The main purpose of this application was to determine individuals’ loyalty, should any of them choose to volunteer in the war effort. Obaachan frowns as she remembers this process. “They told us to be ‘as truthful as possible,’” she says, “which struck me as a strange way of putting it.” - location 1890 “What are you working on now?” he asked, shutting the door and walking toward her to check out the thin piece of cloth she’d laid aside on her cot. “Another belt,” she said. She was referring to a Belt of a Thousand Stitches, or senninbari, an old Japanese tradition. Whenever a man went off to war, someone from home—a wife, mother, or sister—would cut a sash of cloth, and pass it around to various women. Each person was to sew a single stitch in the fabric, so that, in total, there were a thousand stitches by a thousand different people. The soldier would then wear the belt at all times, and the belief was that it would protect him from harm and guarantee safe return. These belts circulated frequently, my grandmother remembers, from friends and friends of friends, and over her years at Heart Mountain, Obaachan ended up sewing her single stitch into a number of them. - location 2344 As each month of 1943 passed, they continued to settle into the monotony of life at Heart Mountain, which over time began to function much like a small city. (With a population of 10,800, it was, in fact, the third largest “city” in Wyoming from 1942 to 1945.) - location 2384 the authorities had a local fire company come to the camp and flood a concave area to create an ice-skating rink. With the harsh temperatures, the water froze quickly. “I’d never ice-skated before,” Obaachan says, remembering, smiling a little. She adjusts her position on the chair. “But I ordered a pair of skates from the Montgomery Ward catalog.” - location 2460 But of all the interesting and unusual people my grandmother came into contact with at Heart Mountain, perhaps most memorable of all would be the one hakujin who had willingly come there as a prisoner. The woman was tall and had shoulder-length blonde hair, and in the sea of shorter, black-haired inmates, she was always easily spotted. Her name was Estelle Ishigo, and after the evacuation from the West Coast was announced, she had decided to go with her Japanese husband. This woman’s choice to marry a Japanese man was in and of itself an act of rebellion and courage. Not only was it taboo to marry outside of your race at the time, it was actually illegal for a hakujin woman to marry a Japanese man in California. Their marriage was legally legitimate, so they must have traveled out of state for the ceremony. - location 2487 Heart Mountain, all new mothers received a kit packed with various items a newborn might need. In each kit were cloth diapers; a little vest; flannel kimonos; pads to prevent soiling the baby’s sheets; soakers, which were crocheted or knitted and used to put over the diapers; and two gowns. A group of Quaker women from Philadelphia made all of these items, packed them up, and shipped them to the internment camps across the country. Quakers, who as a whole protested the imprisonment of Japanese Americans, voiced their opposition prior to removal, but their opinions were drowned out by more powerful forces, so they did what they could to help. When I contact the Quaker Information Center in Philadelphia, I have no luck in tracking down more information about these women and the care packages they sent to Heart Mountain. Perhaps it was the American Friends Service Committee who oversaw this project, or a Friends school, or even a local congregation—we can find no record of the event. Still, my grandmother distinctly remembers receiving that package from the Quakers. As she opened the kit and took out the clean, pastel-colored items, all of which were neatly folded and placed into a basket, she fell silent. Having just returned from her scare at the hospital, and still in a lot of pain from the burns, seeing the small green vest and feeling the soft kimonos moved her. She had done enough sewing and crocheting to understand just how much time and effort had gone into preparing the package, and a feeling of gratitude overwhelmed her. - location 2789 sixty-three percent of the prisoners at Heart Mountain who were American citizens - location 2830 While many young men from Heart Mountain did end up taking this opportunity to earn additional cash, it did have its drawbacks, the primary one being that there was never a set return date, and there was no way to get in touch with someone once they’d left. - location 2836 Obaachan smiles as she recalls this memory. “I knew absolutely nothing about labor,” she tells me—her mother had not prepared her with a single word of explanation or warning—“so I wasn’t the least bit afraid. I’d read an article in a newspaper that told of how a baby had been miraculously born in a car on the way to the hospital, and once I’d heard about how a mother had given birth in a department store. And based on those stories, I guess I thought that when the time came, the baby just sort of slipped out.” My grandmother’s naïveté about the realities of labor shocks me—surely she didn’t really think a baby “slipped out” when it was ready—and yet my shock is, I realize, just another sign of how vastly different the worlds we grew up in were. Obaachan had no clue what to expect on her wedding night, - location 2845 She sang songs and had a policy that she would stop at as many ice-cream parlors along the way as we wanted. I could never eat more than one cone of soft serve, so the little green Dairy-Freez along 522 in Orbisonia, about forty-five minutes from our home, was the only place I ever got my ice cream. My mother and brother always tapped out after two. Still, to us children, the sheer idea of unlimited ice cream was thrilling. - location 3186 Canada, already at war with Germany and Italy, declared war on Japan within hours of the attack on December 7, 1941, and after learning of the United States’ plans to relocate its Japanese in the early months of 1942, it quickly followed suit. Over twenty-one thousand Japanese Canadians, most of whom resided in British Columbia, were sent to the nation’s interior, where they lived out the duration of the war in abandoned mining towns, sugar-beet farms, lumber camps, and road-construction camps. They were not permitted to return to British Columbia until 1949, long after the war was over. - location 3243 Like the other workers at Seabrook Farms, Ojichan worked twelve-hour days, with one day off every two weeks, - location 3263 Germany had surrendered that spring, on May 7. The Allies had dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima on August 6, and on Nagasaki on August 9. Peace, it seemed, might finally be within reach. Obaachan - location 3281 by November 10, 1945, every prisoner at Heart Mountain was gone. In fact, all the camps closed shortly after V-J Day. The prisoners were given $25 cash and told to make arrangements for themselves. - location 3326 Ironically, my grandfather’s foolish behavior as a teenager—throwing that rock at the statue—and his parents’ severe response—sending him to America, alone—may have saved his life. - location 3440

  26. 5 out of 5

    David

    I've read a couple of other books about the internment of almost 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans, including American citizens into camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor that pushed America into WWII. There had been no acts of sabotage or attempted insurrections by any of them but the democrat administration of FDR made this decision as a precaution and issued an executive order to that effect. The complete disruption of so many lives and the loss of almost everything they owned, includi I've read a couple of other books about the internment of almost 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans, including American citizens into camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor that pushed America into WWII. There had been no acts of sabotage or attempted insurrections by any of them but the democrat administration of FDR made this decision as a precaution and issued an executive order to that effect. The complete disruption of so many lives and the loss of almost everything they owned, including businesses and personal property. Stories of the internees are similar in that they put up with harsh conditions in isolated camps for three to five years and when some eventually tried to return, their properties were taken by others and most of them got nothing back. In this book, Silver Like Dust: One Family's Story of America's Japanese Internment by Kimi Cunningham Grant, the author, who is a third generation Japanese American, is coaxing her grandmother's stories and experiences out of her for the book. Like most internees, she never wanted to talk about it. I personally knew a lot of former internees when I lived in Milwaukee and they weren't outwardly bitter about the experience but also didn't dwell on it or talk about it. For the record, FDR also had Germans and Italians held during the war but in much smaller numbers and only if they had been known supporters of Hitler or Mussolini or their policies and, in some cases, to trade for American citizen likewise interned in Europe. While the conditions were spartan and the financial losses were huge, these were nothing like the Nazi torture and death camps. They were able to set up schools, baseball teams, food services and more; they just couldn't leave the camps. That is unless they volunteered to join the US military which many did. The interaction between the grandmother and granddaughter brings a human element to it. The granddaughter had been running away from her Japanese heritage by avoiding Japanese food and refusing to learn Japanese language. But learning about her family from her grandmother softened that a bit; although they seemed to go out for Thai food a lot. The author gives a good account of what people experienced in the camps, albeit second hand. There are other books on this subject written by internees as well. It is amazing how many Americans are unaware of this part of our history.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ruta

    When thinking about WW2, the first „camps“ that come to my mind are the ones for the jews. Then I think about all the people that were exiled to Siberia by the russians. And the last thing I would have thought is that japanese were gathered and internmented on the grounds of USA. But that only shows that I have room for learning more about USA history. The author interviews her grandmother about the time she and her family were internmented in Wyoming concentration camp. Unfortunately, when Japa When thinking about WW2, the first „camps“ that come to my mind are the ones for the jews. Then I think about all the people that were exiled to Siberia by the russians. And the last thing I would have thought is that japanese were gathered and internmented on the grounds of USA. But that only shows that I have room for learning more about USA history. The author interviews her grandmother about the time she and her family were internmented in Wyoming concentration camp. Unfortunately, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, citizens of USA were so narrow minded that all japanese on USA grounds (and other countries by request of USA) started being pursued as enemies. Even more unfortunate for Japanese was their cultural attitude towards life - shikata ga nai (it can't be helped). This means there was little to no resistance to retaliation. However, this story is a story of only one family from only one person's perspective. The author also gives a lot of her opinions on what she would have done if she was in her grandparent's place. The book sparked my interest to learn more about Japanese culture.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Greg Koontz

    Never gave a thought to the Japanese Internment during WWII. Saw this book and read it. Yes what the government did was wrong, but it was war and something needed to be done. That does not make it right, but I am sure that this was a case of the end justifying the means as the government viewed it. The Japanese should have been treated better at the camps but that was not a priority at the time. It is good to see the the Japanese point of view of how they handled the round up and internment. It i Never gave a thought to the Japanese Internment during WWII. Saw this book and read it. Yes what the government did was wrong, but it was war and something needed to be done. That does not make it right, but I am sure that this was a case of the end justifying the means as the government viewed it. The Japanese should have been treated better at the camps but that was not a priority at the time. It is good to see the the Japanese point of view of how they handled the round up and internment. It is sad to see how they were just released at the gates of the camp with nothing more than a couple of bucks and the see you later attitude the government gave them.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Liked the frame of this story - a young woman gets to know her grandmother through a series of discussions about her past, including her internment during WWII. Both aspects of the story are well-drawn, a testament to how well Grant balances their interactions with the poignant memories of her grandmother. Plus, the history is fascinating.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Really enjoyed this book. I liked the way it was both a chance to experience the internment camps, as well as getting to experience what it is like to interview and get to know a family member (in this case the author's grandmother) who was a mystery. I found it gentle, nuanced, and very engaging. Really enjoyed this book. I liked the way it was both a chance to experience the internment camps, as well as getting to experience what it is like to interview and get to know a family member (in this case the author's grandmother) who was a mystery. I found it gentle, nuanced, and very engaging.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.