Customer Reviews for

When the Emperor Was Divine

Average Rating 3.5
( 75 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

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(26)

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(14)

2 Star

(7)

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(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Powerful

A very troubling look at a time in our past. You will carry this around inside for a good while.

posted by gmanpma on October 25, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Easy read

This book follows the hardships forced upon Japanese Americans without excessively ridiculing or shaming. Nice read.

posted by 10077754 on January 11, 2012

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  • Posted October 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Powerful

    A very troubling look at a time in our past. You will carry this around inside for a good while.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2003

    An excellent historical novel

    I borrowed this book from a co-worker who highly recommended it to me, and I was not sure if I even wanted to read it. I started it on a plane ride and could not put it down! I never learned much about these events in American history because they aren't mentioned much. This book gave such powerful insights into the emotions that were involved when these wonderful people were treated so horribly. I became so attached as I followed this family through their trials. The author does an excellent job of writing from multiple perspectives. My heart broke as I saw each member of the family slowly fall apart. This book is superbly written, and I have already told every reader I know to take time to read this novel.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2005

    fambulous

    how the you can feel like the mother, sister, brother, and father. the details paint a vivid picture.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2003

    Such a Powerful Book!

    This little book is one of the most powerful I have ever read. There is not an extraneous word in it. I felt like I held my breath through the first four chapters -- and when I started into the fifth, I cried through every word. I am buying this book for each of my adult children. I am not sure they were ever taught anything in school about this dreadful, shameful episode in our history. They need to know, and this book will show them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2011

    A must read

    Very well written; interesting characters; moving story based on historical truth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Learn about the Japanese experience during WWII

    I highly recommend this book. It was very informative on the Japanese experience in California during WWII. The main characters were very well developed. The book was very touching and intellectually stimulating. It is a very good book for book groups. The book lead to stimulating conversation.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Moving short book

    The tragedy of the US government's interment policy during WWII has been a horrible stain on the nation. This book intensifies and personalizes the event so that all Americans can be familiar with the horror which was perpetrated on our shores, so we can be vigilant to prevent a re-occurence.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2006

    A compelling story

    When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka is a compelling novel. To me, it is a long poem written in a book form. she is an excellent novel but, i am quite disapointed because there seems to be so litte backgroound information on her. i think this story is great and anyone so says opposite should be ashamed

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2002

    A Must Read

    A beautifully written, lovely story about a very sad episode in our history. Read it in one evening, and it has become my choice for Christmas gifts this year. Looking forward to new books from Julie Otsuka.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2002

    Absolutely "Divine"

    The haunting story of a Japanese-American family caught in the ripple effects of WWII America. The father is sent to camp in New Mexico under suspicion of political treason while the mother and children are forced to leave their comfortable life in Berkeley for the harsh Nevada desert. One of the "lucky" family to come home and still find their house standing eventhough life will be forever marked by these events. Written in the third person, the story becomes very familiar and sometimes disturbingly personal. A beautifull book that will stay with you long after you have read the last chapter!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2002

    Finally, Great Fiction on this Subject

    I remember that I dearly loved two different Japanese-American families who were our good friends right after the end of WWII. I was just beginning to become aware of family and friends, and I was always told that these particular people from California had lived with us "during the war" (a time before I was born). Later I learned that it had something to do with keeping them out of "camps," but it was many years before I realized that my parents had employed and sheltered Japanese- Americans so that they wouldn't be confined in some awful barracks out in the Utah desert. Eventually, I learned the historical context of this personal memory and came to understand the enormity and irrationality of the hysteria that caused it. More and more writing about it has recently appeared, but the quality of the writing, particularly of fictional treatments has been mixed, to say the least. Finally, there is a really truthful and beautiful book about it and I am so grateful that my children and grandchildren will have this excellent account of what happened and how it felt to so many innocent people. Also, because of this book they will be able to appreciate that their grandparents (or great-grandparents) objected at the time and actually tried to do something about it. Heartfelt congratulations and thanks to Julie Otsuka for this luminous work of art.

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    Posted October 27, 2011

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