Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Familyby Lauren Kessler
Pub. Date: 08/12/2008
Publisher: Oregon State University Press
To celebrate Oregon's 150th birthday, the Oregon Library Association has chosen one book for all Oregonians to read: Stubborn Twig. Lauren Kessler's award-winning book, the selection for the statewide Oregon Reads program, is a classic story of immigrants making their way in a new land. It is a living work of social history that rings with the power of truth and the drama of fiction, a moving saga about the challenges of becoming an American.
Masuo Yasui traveled from Japan across the other Oregon Trail-the one that spanned the Pacific Ocean-in 1903. Like most immigrants, he came with big dreams and empty pockets. Working on the railroads, in a cannery, and as a houseboy before settling in Hood River, Oregon, he opened a store, raised a large family, and became one of the area's most successful orchardists.
As Masuo broke the race barrier in the local business community, his American-born children broke it in school, scouts, and sports, excelling in most everything they tried. For the Yasuis' first-born son, the constraints and contradictions of being both Japanese and American led to tragedy. But his seven brothers and sisters prevailed, becoming doctors, lawyers, teachers, and farmers. It was a classic tale of the American dream come true-until December 7, 1941, changed their lives forever.
The Yasuis were among the 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry along the West Coast who were forced from their homes and sent to vast inland internment camps. Masuo was arrested as a spy and imprisoned for the rest of the war; his family was shamed and broken. Yet the Yasuis endured, as succeeding generations took up the challenge of finding their identity as Americans. Stubborn Twig istheir story-a story at once tragic and triumphant, one that bears eloquent witness to both the promise and the peril of America.
- Oregon State University Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.06(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.67(d)
Table of Contents
Foreword Governor Theodore R. Kulongski ix
Issei: The First Generation
Spacious Dreams 3
Roots Sunk Deep 35
The Yellow Scourge 53
Mat Yasui, Cottage Industry 67
Paradise Lost 89
Nisei: The Second Generation
A Shadow Across the Canvas 109
The Overachievers 137
Oriental Jailbird 153
A Viper Is a Viper 175
Behind Barbed Wire 189
Two Hundred Percent American 227
Sansei: The Third Generation
Willow Flat 247
The Past Is Prologue 263
Interview with Homer Yasui 279
Reading Group Questions 285
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book is well-researched, interesting, and educational. It is something everyone should read to get a better understanding of American history.
I first heard the book on MP3 through the library and was so impressed, I had to buy it in print. Astonishing historical account for Oregon residents. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in multi-cultural interests.
Well done. I liked the author's following of one family. One family in the Hood River Valley. Doing so allowed an intimate look at the functioning of a multi-generational group its challenges and triumphs. My book club read this and it brought forward interesting conversations. The persons in my book club were mostly in grade school during WWII so have memories of the internment of the Japanese, memories of Asian children in the schools, memories of friendships changed forever as a result of the internments. One woman picked berries for Chop when she was a kid. In conclusion, this book is excellent on many levels.
I really enjoyed this book. History was my major in college, so I am always drawn to these kinds of books. I also live in the Portland OR area, so it's doubly interesting to read. The subject matter is something you don't often study in school unless you take a class that is very focused on this time. It's eye-opening to know how people of Japanese ancestry were treated. I think it's also very good to know what did happen so that we can avoid such things in the future, especially during our current time with suspicion of people of Middle Eastern ancestry. This book is written more like a history book than a novel. It tells you the facts.
A very well written book. Author spent a lot of time in research, interviewing all involved. Anyone who is interested in the internment camps and families who lived through this era of poor government judgment would like this reading.