They Called Us Enemy Book Summary - They Called Us Enemy Book explained in key points

They Called Us Enemy summary

George Takei

Brief summary

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei is a memoir that shares his experience as a child living in Japanese American internment camps during World War II. It sheds light on the injustices faced and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of standing up against discrimination.

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    They Called Us Enemy
    Summary of key ideas

    Introduction to a Hostile Era

    In They Called Us Enemy, George Takei narrates the unfathomable experiences of his childhood spent in Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. The narrative begins with Takei being uprooted from his home in Los Angeles, at the age of five, along with his family, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The government's fear and prejudice against Japanese-Americans is palpable in the enforced Executive Order 9066, leading to their mass incarceration.

    Takei vividly recalls the prejudice, loss, and indignity faced by his family, along with tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans, stripped of their basic rights and property. The story flows into the harsh train journey to their assigned camp, Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas, a desolate place surrounded by barbed wire, guard towers, and armed soldiers. He provides a chilling portrayal of the lowly living conditions, the lack of privacy, and the hardship endured by the internees. Matters worsen during the loyalty questionnaire episode leading to family separations and social divisions.

    Turmoil Beyond the Barricades

    The life beyond the internment camps is no less challenging. The relocated internees face stark prejudice and discrimination in society. The stinging encounters make Takei's parents decide to return to the barbed fences as the lesser of two evils. The families face a grueling existence in the camps where resources are sparse, communal tensions are on the rise, and young men are being coerced to enlist in the US Army.

    Takei painfully recalls the burgeoning defiance in his father, despite the oppressive circumstances, persevering to retain a semblance of dignity and normalcy for the family. There are moving episodes where his father diverts young Takei's attention from the harshness of their predicament, by enchanting him with the wonders of human body anatomy, or by producing a makeshift bathtub to give him a luxurious soak.

    Resilience amid Adversity

    They Called Us Enemy gracefully transitions into Takei's post-camp years, the recovery, and the rebirth of his life and career, becoming the much-adored Sulu of the Star Trek series. He relays the silent endurance and determination of the internees, their quest to reclaim their lives, integrate with society, and their relentless pursuit of justice, including legal battles to win reparations for the wronged Japanese-Americans.

    Takei intersperses the narrative with anecdotes from his later life as a successful actor and civil rights activist. He reflects on the enduring influence of his parents, particularly his father, who instilled in him the virtue of democracy and the value of resilience amid adversity. His testament of braving hostility to emerge as a beacon of hope and advocacy for others resonates throughout the book.

    From Victimhood to Advocacy

    The narration capability of Takei reaches its crescendo as he articulates his transformation from a victim of racial prejudice to an advocate for equality and justice. He uses his influential position to bring the unheard and forgotten story of the internment camps to the wider audience, admonishing such grave historic infringements of the civil liberties of American citizens.

    In conclusion, They Called Us Enemy is not merely a memoir of a dark chapter in American history but a powerful testament of resilience, hope, and the enduring spirit of democracy. The book prompts us to ponder on the lessons of the past, to defend the values of justice and freedom, and to challenge prejudice and discrimination in all forms.

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    What is They Called Us Enemy about?

    "They Called Us Enemy" is a graphic memoir by George Takei that recounts his family's experience of being imprisoned in American internment camps during World War II. Takei reflects on the injustice and discrimination they faced, while also highlighting the resilience and strength of those who were unjustly detained. It is a powerful and thought-provoking account of a dark chapter in American history.

    They Called Us Enemy Review

    They Called Us Enemy (2019) by George Takei is a powerful memoir that sheds light on a dark chapter in American history. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With intimate personal stories and vivid illustrations, it brings to life the experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II.
    • The book explores the themes of identity, injustice, and resilience, offering a thought-provoking examination of social and political issues.
    • Through Takei's candid storytelling and heartfelt reflections, it humanizes the victims of discrimination and serves as a timely reminder of the importance of protecting civil liberties.

    Who should read They Called Us Enemy?

    • Readers who are interested in personal accounts of historical events
    • Those who want to gain a better understanding of the Japanese American internment during World War II
    • People who appreciate graphic novels as a medium for storytelling

    About the Author

    George Takei is a renowned actor, activist, and author. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series. Takei has used his platform to advocate for social justice and human rights, particularly focusing on issues related to the Japanese American community. In his memoir, "They Called Us Enemy," Takei shares his personal experience of being incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. The book provides a powerful and poignant account of this dark chapter in American history. Takei's work continues to inspire and educate readers about the importance of standing up against injustice.

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    They Called Us Enemy FAQs 

    What is the main message of They Called Us Enemy?

    The main message of They Called Us Enemy is the importance of standing up against injustice and fighting for civil rights.

    How long does it take to read They Called Us Enemy?

    The reading time for They Called Us Enemy varies, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is They Called Us Enemy a good book? Is it worth reading?

    They Called Us Enemy is a must-read, offering a powerful and moving account of the Japanese American internment during World War II.

    Who is the author of They Called Us Enemy?

    The author of They Called Us Enemy is George Takei.

    How many chapters are in They Called Us Enemy?

    The book They Called Us Enemy is divided into multiple chapters. Here is a list of the chapters:

    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10

    How many pages are in They Called Us Enemy?

    They Called Us Enemy contains 208 pages.

    When was They Called Us Enemy published?

    They Called Us Enemy was published in 2019.

    What to read after They Called Us Enemy?

    If you're wondering what to read next after They Called Us Enemy, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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