Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Facing the Mountain:

Well, this entire situation is a really bad look.

Quick synopsis:

The story of multiple Japanese Americans through the trials of World War II at home and abroad.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

People during World War II thought dogs could track Japanese people better because…. they thought they smelled different than other people. Yes, really.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Japanese Americans were at first barred from joining the Armed Forces. When given the chance in Hawaii, an expectation of 1500 volunteers were expected. Nearly 10,000 showed up.

My Take on Facing the Mountain:

Some books just feel more important than others. This is one of those books.

Chronicling the lives of multiple groups of Japanese American after Pearl Harbor in World War II, it can be an absolutely brutal read in the way history often can be. The rampant racism will make anyone cringe and the insults pile up against the subjects of the book. They all persevere, and many do so right to their deaths in Europe.

This type of story can easily become a diatribe against the shameful actions of the U.S. towards Japanese Americans, but Daniel James Brown is an extremely skilled writer. He focuses on the triumphs and tragedies of his characters without proselytizing endlessly. His prose flows so easily that the book feels like 100 pages when it is nearly 500. It is one of the best books I have read on World War II.


This is an amazing book everyone should read. Buy it here!

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