Farewell to Manzanar
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Farewell to Manzanar

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  5,679 ratings  ·  589 reviews
During World War II a community called Manzanar was hastily created in the high mountain desert country of California, east of the Sierras. Its purpose was to house thousands of Japanese American internees. One of the first families to arrive was the Wakatsukis, who were ordered to leave their fishing business in Long Beach and take with them only the belongings they could...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 29th 2002 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1972)
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Tammy  King Carlton
The scene where Jeanne's mother throws her china dishes onto the floor - one by one - in front of a salesman who wants to buy them for an offensively low price, just because he knows she has no choice -is one of the best moments of triumph of the human spirit over injustice that I have ever read. I will never forget it.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Taylor Rector for TeensReadToo.com

FAREWELL TO MANZANAR is the chilling autobiography of a Japanese-American girl who survived the interment camps during World War II.

When I began reading this book I had no idea what the "internment" camps were. This is a subject that not many know about and is not a very well-known time in history. "Internment" camps were camps that the American government put together after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor to house all of the Japanese-Americans who lived...more
Tiffany
I was incensed at the government for the first time in my life after reading this at age 11. That was the first time I looked at the myths of our country critically. I think it's sad that they only way children learn about the Japanese internment situation is through reading outside of school.
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Reading as an adult, I think I enjoyed the book much more at the beginning. Initially, the story is intriguing, specific, and personal, setting the reader in the moment. It's strength is that it tells a particular and true tale of the Japanese Internment that is not just a story that happens during the time period, but a personal experience and the connections to events before and after the years in Manzanar. Compared to the horrible stories of human atrocities heard from other parts of the worl...more
Kathrina
There's a lot of baggage associated with this title -- It pops up frequently on required reading lists for schools. Oh, the irony of being forced to read a book about people being forced against their wills. Also, the work was one of the first published narratives documenting the internment experience, and the author's intended audience, as she explains in the afterword, was not specifically for young readers (although, of course, she welcomes its popularity in classroom curriculum). I don't lik...more
Terri Lynn
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston really breathes life into history with this book which tells the real-life story of her internment in a relocation camp during World War 2.

It is no secret that the USA is a racist country and always has been. Asians met with the same hateful behavior that Native Americans, blacks, etc have faced. I was glad to see the point made in the book by a person who sued the US government for being imprisoned during the war without having committed any crime nor undergone due pro...more
Jeanette
I saw this movie way back in junior high, but I couldn't remember having read the book.
A straightforward, easy to read, first-person account of something that never should have happened here in America. The author was only seven years old at the time her family went into the camp. It's interesting to read her views of the situation as a child, then later in the book to see her perspective looking back, when she realizes the long-term effects of that early experience.
Cindy
Although I've read a lot of stories written by Holocaust survivors, this was the first book that I have read about the Japanese-American internment camps. This is a part of American history that many, many Americans seem to know nothing about.
Danielle
This book really changed my life as a youth. My parents both encouraged me to read it. Specifically my mother who is not that Japanese side of my heritage. My great grandparents on my father's side were originally from Japan. My grandfather who was full blooded first generation American fought in WWII. My great uncle however did not and was with his family put into a Japanese internment camp. It gave me a view into what my family went through. Brothers divided on the idea of the war and the susp...more
Erin
Mar 22, 2007 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Buffs
Great memoir that tells the story of Japanese internment through the eyes of a girl who was 7 when she arrived there. Great for history buffs and even more so for history teachers. The author describes her experiences at the camp in vivid detail and - even more powerfully - explains the impact of those experiences on her after she left the camp. Teachers of adolescents can do amazing things with passages from the book that relate to identity and self-image. Good, quick read that can be read on m...more
James Schmalz
This is the heart warming story of Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and her family's relocation to the camp Manzanar. It was a touching book that made me shed many a tear for the tragedy that we call World War Two. Farewell to Manzanar lets you feel the obstacles that plagued the Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. It starts with one of the only tastes of normal life Jeanne had before Manzanar and even this was not quite normal. All in all I'd rate this 4 out of 5.
Barbara
This is the tragic story about how the US government treated its own citizens in WWII. Thousands of Japanese American people, many of whom were born in this country, were placed in internment camps to "protect" the American people. Is this hindsight or were people actually deluded into believing the Japanese Americans were a threat? Judge for your own opinion on this controversial topic.
Judy
I recently read "Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet," and it reminded me of "Farewell to Manzanar." I discovered that I hadn't listed it as one of my books. I read this book when I was in my 40s as a class assignment when I went back to college. I was a child during WWII, but as I went through school I never learned of the horrible injustice that was done to Japanese Americans during the war. I was shocked! I realize there was a lot of fear in the country after Pearl Harbor. But I also thin...more
Ken
Author Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston has succeeded in writing a book that is readable and worthwhile for any reader -- I would say ages 12 to adult. I wish I had been assigned this in school, for I did not learn about Japanese internment camps until much later, probably my senior year in high school. I'd be willing to venture that even many high school students don't learn much about this part of American history.

The author wisely avoids pathos and melodrama, which allows the situation to speak for i...more
Taylor McLemore
"Farewell to Manzanar" is a book about the Japanese American war that is happening during the 1940's. This is talks about a young woman and her family being uprooted from their home to a camp with other Japanese Americans. It was a struggle for the little girl because she was one of the youngest in her family and she had to look after them.

Jeanne Wakatusuki was the name of the little girl. When her family had to be uprooted from their home in 1942, she was only seven years old. Her and her fami...more
Ptreick
I just reread this book in preparation for teaching it to my seventh graders. The book is powerful, and the themes of nationality/ethnic heritage/prejudice/racism/acculturation are powerful; many of my students will relate to the Wakatsukis in one way or another.

I've probably read the book two or three times, and each time I do feel like I still don't have the best understanding of Japanese internment camps, specifically Manzanar.

Maybe this isn't so much a fault of this book as our culture over...more
Ally
I found Farewell to Manzanar to be very heartfelt and truthful. This book honestly mangaged to educate me on a subject I didnt' know enough about. I feel for Jeanne and her family, and all the families invovled in these events.

This book is written well with good vocabulary and a strong message. I gave it a four star rating because it didn't hold my attention the way some books do, and that can very well be due to the lower reading level it is geared toward. This book should defenetly be somethin...more
Monte
I DID NOT LIKE THIS BOOK. It is not enteresting to me and it is just sad as well. I am interested in the world wars, but it's the weapons, the artillery, the ships, planes, tanks, ect. that I like. Not the death, the suffering, the concentration camps, or the internment camps during the 2nd world war. This book is about the Japaniese Americans in the camps. It doesn't capture my interest at all that I am not reading this book again. It is mainly boring and a book made by a solder would be so muc...more
Jing
It was around the time when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, an area that reside to America. This arouse racism towards Japanese. Ever since then, people began to persecute this race. A young girl named Jeanne told of her story how hard to accept others doing to herself. Some people were challenged in where their loyalty resides.
America is not a perfect place, there are always some people who persecute other thinking that they are superior to others or by fear. If America live like that, it would...more
Anila
It's been about six years since I read this, but I remember it fondly.
The internment camps of the WWII era tend to get overshadowed in the study of history, which I find to be disgraceful. Yes, the Holocaust and the atomic bomb are vital events in the history of the world, and I'm not suggesting that we ignore them by any means. But the internment camps need to be talked about: if they're glossed over or ignored, Americans run the risk of forgetting that our country was at war with two other nat...more
John
I first read this book as a pre-teen. I remember finishing it and being a bit confused. I went to my parents and asked if this was fiction, because I could not believe my country could do this to its own citizens. When I was informed that this really did happen in America, my eyes were opened anew to the world, to say the least.

As an adult, I have traveled several times to the site of Manzanar. I do not look upon the remains of the camp or the informative museum now at the site with the innocenc...more
Neil Robarge
I didn't like the book very much, but it was a good way to imagine yourself living in Manzanar. This book was boring at times, but had some exciting moments. I would not recommend it if you are doing a research project on it, because it is very hard to find extra information if you want to write a good summary about it. If you like World War II, its worth reading, but if you're not interested in these kind of books, I wouldn't recommend it. I had to do a research project on this, which was harde...more
Tess
Because I had a specific amount of time to read this book I didn't get to read it the same way I would when I read for fun. I didn't like this book that much. It was a touching story and it gave me some perspective of what had happened in Pearl Harbor and the Japanese sent there but at times it was confusing and I didn't understand it. I think Houston explained more about how she transitioned from being a student at school to a woman with an American husband and children it would have made more...more
Paulina
This is one of those rare books I feel every American, who wants to know the full history of our country, should read.

Not only because it tells this crucial and shameful part of US history but because it does so in this simple but stark and totally striking way.

The experiences that are highlighted and the insights offered up about what these all meant to Jeannie as an individual, and also to other Japanese Americans, just really resonated with me and made me reflect on recurring themes in Americ...more
Megan Joyce
Enjoyed reading this book after wanting to know more about the Japanese internment camps. I don't remember learning about the camps in school and so my first exposure to this terrible topic in history was through reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a great fiction novel about the internment camps and long lost love. Farewell to Manzanar took me further into the camps by following the story of Jeanne Wakatsuki and her family as they were forced into terrible living conditions by thei...more
Mitch
I have mixed feelings about this book.

One the one hand, I think the author did a good job expressing how life was for her primarily, and her family members secondarily, in the Manzanar internment camp in the 1940's.

However, it is never enjoyable to read a book once you realized that the writer has been scarred by her experiences there...and that she is still damaged.

I am sorry this happened to her at such an impressionable age. It's difficult for me to understand how she could have been so hurt,...more
Melinda
A memoir of growing up Japanese before, during, and after WWII and of life in the internment camp Manzanar, 1942–45. The parts that stuck with me the most were where Houston shows how internment tore apart her family psychologically, especially destroying her father, and how deeply she internalized the racism of that decision of the U.S. government as a pre-teen and carried that message through the rest of her life.
Camille Torres-kelly
This book is a true story about a Japanese-American girl's life in an internment camp. It is very sad, but it is extremely important because it speaks the truth. Vividly detailed and chock-full of the author's memories, there is not one dull moment on any of the pages. Overall, this will be one book that you will remember for years to come. I recommend this book to children ages 12 to 15.
Rene
This novel is based on the real-life experiences of author Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, who spent three years as a young teen in the Manzanar Relocation Camp in southeastern California. The story starts in 1941 when Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and by 1942, the US War Department had adopted the Japanese-American relocation act and Wakatsuki's family was forced to move. The horrible conditions, humiliation dehumanizing experiences of those held in the Japanese internment camps is captured in vivid des...more
Chris Beal
I wasn't looking to read this book but it virtually fell into my lap about a week ago. Given that the authors have been notable people in my local community, it was past time I read it.

The book is very short and there is nothing extraneous in it. It is a heartfelt portrayal of how a young girl's life was changed when she and her family were put into a relocation camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. The "Farewell" in the title refers to the necessity for the author to go back and come...more
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“The reason I want to remember this is because I know we'll never be able to do it again.” 14 likes
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