“People can do great things, George, They can come up with noble, shining ideals. But people are also fallible human beings, and we know they made a terrible mistake.”

Takekuma Norman Takei

Today, we’re taking a break from what we’re usually reviewing to talk about a serious subject. You recall on December 7th, 1941 that Pearl Harbor was bombed and attacked which pulled the United States into the war, but what was happening behind the scenes after the attack was political pressure to punish and strip away citizenship and rights of Japanese Americans in response to the attacks of Pearl Harbor, leading into labeling Japanese Americans as “Alien Enemies” of the people. Seventy-Four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, giving into the amount of pressure from Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066; order to incarcerate Japanese Americans, German Americans and Italian Americans in the U.S. Concentration Camps. Today, we’ll be going over George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy.

They Called Us Enemy is one of the most emotional graphic memoirs (or memoirs in general) I have ever read, the story begins with two Soldiers coming to the door and telling George’s father that he and his family have to come with them, explaining that under Executive Order 9066, Takekuma and his family have to leave their home immediately. George Takei discussing the family’s life before the attack on pearl harbor was something you would see in a movie, such a beautiful, innocent time; after the birth of his sister, Nancy Reiko, seeing time moves forward to the infamous date of December 7th, 1941 the day that would change their lives forever.. Japan declared war on the US by Attacking Pearl Harbor. What was meant to be a time to be getting ready for Christmas for the Takei Family (Including every one of Japanese Ancestry) ends up leading to giving up the life they knew; the growth of racism disguised as Patriotism that not only the Takei Family witnessed but families of Japanese, Italian, and German Americans were forced to live in Concentration Camps that were located throughout the United States; George and his co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott have done a wonderful job of recapturing the events and the peril they went through. Artist Harmony Becker‘s Pencil work is a great touch for helping bring the writers message to the reader to life, watching The Takei Family live life in Rohwer Relocation Center (aka Camp Rohwer) to living at Tule Lake (aka Camp Tulelake). This Memoir inspires the reader to engage through democracy to insist we treat fellow human beings with fairness and dignity.

This book is one of the most powerful stories you can read today, it not only shares the stories from the past but it also drew heartbreaking parallels to the present, and serves as a cautionary tale for the future. This is one book that is on our Recommendation List, if you want to learn more about George Takei or more about What the Takei Family went through, you need to read this book.