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Desert Exile

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  295 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In the spring of 1942, shortly after the United States entered into war with Japan, the federal government initiated a policy whereby 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were rounded up and herded into camps. They were incarcerated without indictment, trial, or counsel - not because they had committed a crime, but simply because they resembled the enemy. There was never a ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 1st 1984 by University of Washington Press (first published 1982)
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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie FordSnow Falling on Cedars by David GutersonFarewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki HoustonDesert Exile by Yoshiko UchidaThe Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
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4th out of 74 books — 43 voters
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Community Reviews

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April
An account of the Japanese Internment. This is written very well. I absolutely love her attitude as her family suffers all sorts of atrocities due to their Japanese heritage. I think this is a very important story to read so we can understand what America truly is and what it means to us. Also, what can happen when we group and begin to judge people based on their ethnicity and/or their appearance. A real eye opener.
For me, this is a subject that was only briefly touched on in high school histor
...more
Darcy
Yoshiko Uchida tells her story with grace, clarity, and composure. She does not take to flights of fancy in order to make her memoir more interesting or exciting; indeed, it doesn’t really need embellishment, as the simple truth of her family’s exile and internment at Tanforan and then Topaz is haunting enough. What I found most moving were the excerpts of poetry that her mother wrote, particularly this one:

Someone named it
Topaz. . . .
This land
Where neither grass
Nor trees
Nor wild flowers grow.
...more
Alex Barron
Earnest and detailed account of the author's experience in an internment camp during WWII. Perhaps geared towards a younger audience, but plenty of adults could probably also benefit from a refresher on this dark chapter in US history.
Stephan
It is haunting to learn how an Americans rights and property be taken away solely based on nationality and a current event. I wonder why the school systems don't teach about our wrongdoings?
Karen Shimamoto
The Uchida family gave me a new perspective of life for issei and nisei from a more wealthy background. Mr Uchida was a businessman with Mitsui, a Japanese company, had connections to Doshisha Christian University, was educated, and had many links to both white and Japanese people with influence and connections. Their hardships were not any less than the other 110,000 JAs who were forced into American concentration camps, but their ability to make use of their education, knowledge, and social tr ...more
Pamela
read this for my Ca history class.. worth reading even if you're not studying California History, WWII history or cultural studies. It's worth it to read and know.
Isaac
A history of a family taken brutally from their home by their own country, in direct violation of the US Constitution. Imprisoned by racism, greed and fear, and must importantly by their fellow citizens. But it not a story about bitterness and anger, its a story of hope and defiance. That the power of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the belief that all men are created equal is just more powerful then petty and cruel policy makers. The Politicians that uses "Family Values" and "Patrioti ...more
Linda
While a memoir, this important book documenting the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII comes across more factual than as a personal narrative. The Tanforan racetrack and Topaz center were some of the most miserable, badly built "camps" which heightens the sense of outrage at the internment of innocent people. The story really highlights the "gaman," or patient fortitude, the JA people exhibited while their basic rights were trampled and their savings and livelihoods stolen. Photos add ...more
Elisse
I liked this book quite a bit. I have studied the Japanese internment camp that was in Delta Utah for the past few semesters in different history classes, and this book finally made it real for me. I was outraged at the treatment of these US citizens, and awed by the fortitude and perserverence of Yo and her family. Everyone should read this book, so that this horrible and embarrassing event in American history is not repeated.
Emily
Sep 07, 2010 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
I read this book when I was in college for an Immigration History class. I really enjoyed this book because it helped me to better understand the effect that the bombing of Pearl Harbor had on the nation. I think it is important to look at the good things our government has done as well as the questionable things. This book gives you a new perspective on life and the struggles that some individuals were forced to endure.
Michael
This is a story of injustice, racial prejudice, endurance, and family devotion. Few people are aware of the shameful treatment accorded Japanese immigrants (Issei) and their American born children (Nisei) in the U.S. following Pearl Harbor and during WWII that Yoshiko Uchida documents in her book.
Susan
I had to read this for school but it was an easy read from a point of view. It's been several years since I've read it but it was sad to read from some of the unfairness that many Japanese individuals had to struggle through during that time. This is a fast read, recommend.
Therese
Interesting true story of a japanese family that was exiled by the US during WWII. But I really hated the dumb question she asks "Why didn't the US pick on the germans or italians?" Well, maybe it's because they didn't bomb Pearl Harbor.
Valarie
I'm not really sure why this is a separate book from Journey to Topaz, apart from the fact that they are written for different age groups. Both books tell the story of the author's internment during WWII, which is very interesting and well-written.
Amanda
I had no idea anything like this had occured here in the U.S. This was quite an eye opener. I really enjoyed this book and am saddened that this was a reality for American citizens.
Antoine
Somewhere near the all time bottom of summer reading picks. This book had a worthy subject--the internment of japanese-americans during the pacific war--but failed on the literary side.
Brenna
Beautifully written book about being alive in internment camp during WW11 when Japanese Americans were uprooted from their homes. This is a book that everyone should read.
Anna Kim
This book is similar to "Farewell to Manzanar" in that it chronicles the life of a Japanese American family in a concentration camp during World War II.
Jessica
It's a vivid account, very much in the vein of a lot of Holocaust literature. It's almost hard to read, too, considering its place in our country's history.
Kevin
The story of a middle class Japanese-American Family that is stripped of their hard earned life and thrown into unbearable conditions.
Morrigan
A easily read personal story that documents what it was like to be sent to America's concentration camps.
Devin
I had no idea anything like this happened in the 19th century! Very informative.
Gavin
Paints a picture of what Japanese-Americans had to endure during World War 2.
Megan
A bit dry, but there are great excerpts and poems to use in class.
Katy
mandatory reading for class....we'll see how it goes.
Dana
Sad but true story.
Krista
Krista marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2015
michelle
michelle marked it as to-read
Jan 26, 2015
Claudia
Claudia is currently reading it
Jan 26, 2015
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Yoshiko, born on November 24, 1921, was the second daughter of Japanese immigrant parents Takashi and Iku. Her father worked as a businessman for Mitsui and Company in San Francisco, and Iku wrote poetry, passing along her love of literature to her girls. Though the Great Depression raged, the Uchida family enjoyed comforts because of Takashi's well-paying job and their own frugality. Yoshiko love ...more
More about Yoshiko Uchida...
Journey to Topaz: A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation Picture Bride A Jar of Dreams The Invisible Thread The Bracelet

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