A fascinating piece of history with threads of courage and poignancy, brought to life by an accomplished storyteller.

BRIDGE TO THE SUN

THE SECRET ROLE OF THE JAPANESE AMERICANS WHO FOUGHT IN THE PACIFIC IN WORLD WAR II

In the life-and-death struggle of the Pacific War, the U.S. had a crucial secret weapon: thousands of Japanese Americans.

Henderson, a journalist who has written more than 20 books, many of them dealing with World War II, brings a great deal of investigative acumen to his latest. He follows the stories of several “nisei—first-generation American citizens born in the United States whose parents were immigrants from Japan”—to give personal depth to the bigger picture. At the end of the book, the author includes a 50-page list of the names of those nisei who served and those who were killed in action. Many of them fought in combat roles while doubling as translators and prisoner interrogators—in one case, a soldier shouted out false orders to the Japanese, resulting in a crucial victory—while others worked as intelligence analysts and codebreakers. “They knew the enemy better than anyone and were highly motivated to defeat them,” writes Henderson. The Japanese had entered the war believing that their language was too complex for others to understand, so they often neglected encryption and left crucial documents where they could be captured. In the combat theaters, the nisei quickly gained respect, and even Gen. Douglas MacArthur made a special acknowledgement of their important contributions. The irony is that their families in America continued to languish in internment camps, and even Japanese soldiers in uniform suffered discrimination when on leave. Many of them felt a strong need to prove themselves and their loyalty but worried about encountering relatives or old friends on the battlefield. There were several nisei present for the Japanese surrender, and even after hostilities ceased, they continued to play critical liaison roles. This book is an important step in providing much-needed recognition for these brave Americans.

A fascinating piece of history with threads of courage and poignancy, brought to life by an accomplished storyteller.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-525-65581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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A concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths.

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ON JUNETEENTH

The Harvard historian and Texas native demonstrates what the holiday means to her and to the rest of the nation.

Initially celebrated primarily by Black Texans, Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865, when a Union general arrived in Galveston to proclaim the end of slavery with the defeat of the Confederacy. If only history were that simple. In her latest, Gordon-Reed, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and numerous other honors, describes how Whites raged and committed violence against celebratory Blacks as racism in Texas and across the country continued to spread through segregation, Jim Crow laws, and separate-but-equal rationalizations. As Gordon-Reed amply shows in this smooth combination of memoir, essay, and history, such racism is by no means a thing of the past, even as Juneteenth has come to be celebrated by all of Texas and throughout the U.S. The Galveston announcement, notes the author, came well after the Emancipation Proclamation but before the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Though Gordon-Reed writes fondly of her native state, especially the strong familial ties and sense of community, she acknowledges her challenges as a woman of color in a state where “the image of Texas has a gender and a race: “Texas is a White man.” The author astutely explores “what that means for everyone who lives in Texas and is not a White man.” With all of its diversity and geographic expanse, Texas also has a singular history—as part of Mexico, as its own republic from 1836 to 1846, and as a place that “has connections to people of African descent that go back centuries.” All of this provides context for the uniqueness of this historical moment, which Gordon-Reed explores with her characteristic rigor and insight.

A concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63149-883-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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