A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
One of NPR's "Books We Love" of 2021
Longlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography
Winner of the Christopher Award
“Masterly. An epic story of four Japanese-American families and their sons who volunteered for military service and displayed uncommon heroism… Propulsive and gripping, in part because of Mr. Brown’s ability to make us care deeply about the fates of these individual soldiers...a page-turner.” – Wall Street Journal
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat, a gripping World War II saga of patriotism and resistance, focusing on four Japanese American men and their families, and the contributions and sacrifices that they made for the sake of the nation.
In the days and months after Pearl Harbor, the lives of Japanese Americans across the continent and Hawaii were changed forever. In this unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe, Daniel James Brown portrays the journey of Rudy Tokiwa, Fred Shiosaki, and Kats Miho, who volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible. Brown also tells the story of these soldiers' parents, immigrants who were forced to submit to life in concentration camps on U.S. soil. Woven throughout is the chronicle of Gordon Hirabayashi, one of a cadre of patriotic resisters who stood up against their government in defense of their own rights. Whether fighting on battlefields or in courtrooms, these were Americans under unprecedented strain, doing what Americans do best—striving, resisting, pushing back, rising up, standing on principle, laying down their lives, and enduring.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
American soldiers were responsible for countless acts of heroism during World War II—and some of them were fighting for a country that ultimately betrayed them. Historian Daniel James Brown tells the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Army unit composed entirely of Nisei: second-generation Japanese-Americans. Brown focuses on the personal stories of three soldiers—Kats Miho, Fred Shiosaki, and Rudy Tokiwa—whose hardworking families were sent to the United States’ infamous Japanese-American concentration camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. We had a lump in our throat as we followed these brave young men who volunteered to prove their loyalty as Americans, fighting in explosive combat missions across Europe. We were also captivated by the story of Gordon Hirabayashi, a conscientious objector openly fighting against the injustices faced by Japanese-Americans whose case eventually went all the way to the Supreme Court. A gripping historical pageturner, Facing the Mountain brings new light to one of World War II’s most troubling chapters.
Brown (The Boys in the Boat) chronicles in this bravura account the experiences of Japanese American soldiers and their families during WWII. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, more than 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were sent to internment camps for the duration of the war. By 1943, after more than a year of persistent lobbying for the chance to prove their patriotism, draft-age Nisei (those born in the U.S. to Japanese immigrant parents) could volunteer for "a segregated, all-Japanese American fighting unit" in the U.S. Army. Brown details tensions between recruits from the mainland and Hawaii (where Japanese Americans were not interned) during their training in Jim Crow–era Mississippi, and dramatically recounts their rescue of a "lost battalion" of besieged Texas infantrymen in eastern France in October 1944. Drawing from extensive firsthand accounts, Brown interweaves the stories of dozens of Japanese American soldiers with the experiences of their interned families back in the U.S., and tracks legal battles waged by Nisei who refused to sign loyalty oaths or register for the draft because they believed their civil rights had been violated. The result is an illuminating and spirited portrait of courage under fire.
A MUST READ for everyone
A brilliant book about an important time in United States history as well as a dark time in United States history in the way people were treated who didn’t look like you, the “Ugly American”. I knew some history about Fred Shiosaki, having been born and raised in Spokane, Wa and having graduated from Rogers High School myself, in 1969. These soldiers, all of them, are and were true AMERICAN heroes, no matter the heritage.
Facing the Mountain
This is a very detailed account of the oppression of Japanese Americans before, during and after WWII. While the author had tremendous resources available to him, the accounts told in this book were very organized and the book flowed seamlessly. Thank you for the service of the American heroes portrayed in this book.
Facing the Mountain
An excellent achievement, history that all Americans need to be aware of.