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Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  15,359 ratings  ·  1,450 reviews
Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar internment camp—with 10,000 other Japanese Americans. Along with searchlight towers and armed guards, Manzanar ludicrously featured cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, sock hops, baton twirling lessons and a dance band called the Jive Bombers who would play any popu ...more
Paperback, 203 pages
Published 1995 by Dell (first published January 1st 1973)
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Marilyn Read the summary above. She was interned there with her family.
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Tammy King Carlton
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-personal-favs
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. ...more
several years ago i took a postwar japan course that assigned this memoir, but it was dropped off the syllabus at the end of the year and i didn't take the time to revisit it. i wish i had sooner, because it's an important story, especially within the context of the many cultural shifts of the WWII era.

jeanne wakatsuki was one of thousands of japanese americans sent to internment camps during WWII, and she resided there during a significant chunk of her childhood. her story is told through the e
I owe Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston my career.

Re-reading this as research for my writing.

It was while reading this book during my "Narratives of Interment" course in college that one of my classmates asked the fateful question, "Can we go to California?" "We'll see," our professor replied. He shocked us all a few days later by explaining that the American Studies department would foot the bill for our class to go to Manzanar. We were ecstatic. It was the most moving experience I have ever had. It wa
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
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
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. ...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
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jun 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
3.75 stars

This is the memoir of a woman who lived in a Japanese internment camp when she was very young (age 7-11). While the internment is a key part of the book, it’s also about family and how events like this shaped them for years to come.

It’s not very long and feels like it was written for a younger audience, though Jeanne says her goal was just to make it accessible to many ages. It’s kind of hard to rate.

I have family in Tulelake on the Oregon-California border. I was much older before I k
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: durio
It would have been good, but we read Night right before we read it. Night makes Farewell to Manzanar look like summer camp.
Melody Schwarting
May 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
A well-written, expansive, yet personal account of internment camps during WWII. Houston was 7 when her family was interned, and collects her memories alongside those of her family members in Farewell to Manzanar. The effect of the internment on the Wakatsuki family was excruciating to read, but graciously written. She also speaks more about life after the camp, and her experiences in high school were heartbreaking. Recommended reading on internment camps for middle school readers and above.
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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.
Grace, Queen of Crows and Tomes
A good look at a part of American history that many Americans may not know about, the internment camps during World War II that housed Japanese Americans for about three years. This story tells about life in one of the camps, Manzanar, and how it affected the author and her family. It also tells about the after effects that staying at the camp had on the author long after she left. Highly recommend 👍
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
The author's memoirs of her coming of age years, centered around time spent with her family in a WWII Internment Camp. I read this along with my daughter's 8th grade English class and learned a lot about this regrettable period of American history. The book is written to be accessible for a YA audience while also remaining interesting to adult readers. ...more
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the many atrocities committed by the U.S. Government was the forced relocation and incarceration in camps in the interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who lived on the Pacific coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens. These actions were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Many consider the internment to have resulted more from racism than from any securit ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Also see my thoughts in this BookTube video

I read this book shortly after reading When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka. That book gave me all the FEELS and I gave it 4 stars. I really enjoyed this book, but I could not give it 4 stars because it did not provoke my emotions like the previous book. However, this book did give a lot of facts from history. I liked the timeline given at the front of the book. I also liked the fact the author explained a lot
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible book that taught me a lot about the Manzanar internment camp, which I wasn't very familiar with. It explores the effect of this on Jeanne and her family during this time, and also after. It's quick, easy to follow and well worth the read. ...more
Sue Lee
Mar 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2022, audio-with-kids
Read and listened with the kids this time. Hard to believe this really happened in our country. So glad the author wrote down her experiences for us all to know.
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May 2021 I lost this review a few years back. Am reading Facing the Mountain a new book about the discrimination to Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. Was thinking about this book. And wanted to read my review. There wasn’t one so decided to write one instead.

After re-reading this important book when I moved to CA I went to visit Manzanar. It’s not too far from Yosemite National Park. It’s located on the backside of the Sierra’s called the Sierra Nevada. There is a m
Leah Agirlandaboy
I’m embarrassed to have gone so long without reading this, but I’m glad I didn’t let that stop me.

For all I’ve heard about this book over the years, especially in regards to how groundbreaking it (and its film adaptation) was, I was surprised at first that it was so...quiet. By the end, however, that quietness had become a strength, especially for a book often read by teens who are maybe first learning about the mass incarceration. Rather than being an angry book with a very strong agenda (whic
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
"I smiled and sat down, suddenly aware of what being of Japanese ancestry was going to be like. I wouldn't be faced with physical attack, or with overt shows of hatred. Rather, I would be seen as someone foreign, or as someone other than American, or perhaps not be seen at all."

I knew quite a bit about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII going into this book, but this was a really important and honest look into what everyday life was like for the internees. I would definitely encour
Barbara H
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
J. Wootton
Mar 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
In San Antonio, Texas, an abandoned quarry donated to the city in 1899 was turned into a lily pond garden and tourist attraction during the early 1900s, eventually becoming known as the "Japanese Tea Garden" and featuring a tea room. Visitors today are greeted by a magnificently carved elaborate wooden archway at the park entrance that reads "Chinese Tea Garden."

One story circulating to explain this discrepancy is that the Japanese-American tea room operators had this arch carved at considerable
Reading about the WW II internment camps for American citizens from a child’s point of view maybe and probably is a simplified example of what actually happened and how it harmed the lives of those involved. But Ms. Wakatsuki did a great job. The story is well written and informative, an easy recommendation.

This is a subject that has intrigued me since elementary school. Too young to be overly prejudiced I found it incredible that the government could imprison its citizens. Lesson learned? Gove
Heather *coffee and flowers*
These rock gardens had outlived the barracks and the towers and would surely outlive the asphalt road and rusted pipes and shattered slabs of concrete. Each stone was a mouth, speaking for a family, for some man who had beautified his doorstep.

Nov 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
So you got Jeanne, a very young girl who is thrown into a world full of confusion, racism, and prejudice, all of which she does not understand right away.

On the other hand, you got her father who drinks a lot and expresses his hatred toward their situation as well as his disagreements on the way Japanese people have been treated. He is very traditional. believing in honor, courage, and respect, a ways of life which have not only been challenged but also are slowly disappearing from his children
Lauren Curley
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have been to Manzanar which is why I wanted to read this book. This book really made that trip come to life. Gaining a better understanding of how the Japanese were removed from their homes and then their typical lives in Manzanar was fascinating. My favorite part was reading about how the camp changed from when it opened to when it closed. To start with bare floors and dust flying everywhere to more acceptable conditions made more sense after my visit and this book.
The reason I am rating thi
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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