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Farewell to Manzanar

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  9,218 Ratings  ·  933 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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Marilyn Read the summary above. She was interned there with her family.

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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

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
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
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
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
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston has given the reading world a rare and beneficial gift with her historically relevant, emotively rich memoir - Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment.

Memoirs, by their very nature, can be quite fickle. Swinging wildly between two distant camps: glossed-over polished affairs or maladroit sensationalized sagas. Jeanne's recounting of her coming-of-age experiences during WWII as an ostracized Japanese
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.
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
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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 👍
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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.
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
The Reading Countess
I've never read this book in my expansive reading life-see why I picked it up below. Manzanar is well written and accessible to all readers. At times, her recollections are startlingly astute. I'm glad to see this one in young readers' hands because history will live on a loop if we don't look closely at the road behind us. Sadly, there is much to compare to today's headlines, which makes Manzanar a book that should remain on school lists (recommended OR required).

My youngest son is charged with
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
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A first person account of a Japanese Interment Camp during the WW2 epoch. I highly recommend.
Xian Xian
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
Timothy Hallinan
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
Karina Escajeda
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edu-511-513
A tough book to read, and a great read-aloud history lesson for the ELL high school classroom.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I actually read this book a long time ago (probably middle school?), but I re-read it for work so a good time to sum up my thoughts. I drive by the Manzanar site usually at least once a year, but normally more than that. During middle school, we studied World War II and I read a ton of literature focusing on the period of history. The idea of the internment camps was part of this personal study of that time. I can see why the subject is often brushed over in history classes, it is a dark stain o ...more
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
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
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“The reason I want to remember this is because I know we'll never be able to do it again.” 17 likes
“From that day on, pay of me yearned to be invisible. In a way, nothing would have been nicer than for no one to see me. Although I could not have defined it at the Tom me, I felt if attention were drawn to me, people would see what this girl had first responded to. They wouldn't see me, the would see the slanted - eye face, the Oriental.” 1 likes
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