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

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  13,050 ratings  ·  1,258 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 1972)
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Marilyn Read the summary above. She was interned there with her family.

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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  13,050 ratings  ·  1,258 reviews

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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
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 was totally worth the red eye flight and sle
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Taylor Rector for

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
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
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
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
Jeanette (Again)
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 from the LBC
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Mar 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Karina Escajeda
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edu-511-513
A tough book to read, and a great read-aloud history lesson for the ELL high school classroom.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A first person account of a Japanese Interment Camp during the WW2 epoch. I highly recommend.
You cannot deport 110,000 people unless you have stopped seeing individuals.
I'm not sure when I first learned about the Japanese internment camps in the US, but it was long enough ago that it seems rather odd that it took me this long to read an official book on the matter. Admittedly, Obasan crossed my path a while back, but there's a sharp difference between creative invocations of trauma in lands where names that, while physically nearer than Japan, are still foreign to me, and strai
Xian Xian
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
If you guys are wondering why I'm reading more non-fiction than I usually do, it is my goal for the year to read more non-fiction books and also because I'm taking an online history class as an elective. This book was short and the font is pretty darn big since it's apparently a young adult book. Like, literally on the back cover it literally has the website link,

This is a memoir about Wakatsuki Houston's childhood as a Japanese American during WWII. She writes about
Gail Guetersloh
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone needs to read this. What out country did was unacceptable. We were a land of narrow minded caucasians in 1942, as we were at the dawning of this nation and as we are now. How do politicians get to destroy so many lives with no consequence? How do caucasians get away scot free?

“The physical violence didn’t trouble me. Somehow I didn’t quite believe that, or didn’t want to believe such things could happen to us. It was the humiliation. That continuous, unnamed ache I had been living with
Timothy Hallinan
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Well, here's a heartbreaker that filled me with simultaneous shame and pride at being human. Shame that I'm a member of the species that snatched these innocent people out of their homes and daily lives, shattered some of their families permanently, and forced them behind fences at the ass end of nowhere. Pride that I'm a member of the species that took this with such dignity, that created a community behind the wire, used took the only things they had -- rocks and sand -- to build rock-and-sand ...more
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