Tag Archive: Facing The Mountain


Now, my take on the last book from my summertime night table reading stack (see my post of July 11, 2021).  Daniel James Brown’s Facing The Mountain, A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” (Viking $30.00 9780525557401) recounts the reaction of our country at-large against Japanese Americans, in the wake of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 – 80 years ago, next month, as I write this review. As I read the chapters, I couldn’t help but notice, and am awestruck by how much our Black- American and Japanese-American soldier’s World War II experiences have in-common.  You see, I am the son of a career U.S. Army man who fought within the 369th Field Artillery unit out of Harlem, U.S.A.  I remember him alluding to much similar discrimination by segregation within the U.S. Armed forces, even though the enemy’s bullets did not differentiate race when they found their mark. It would be like if Africa was one country and it attacked us, all suspected African Americans would be round-up and sent off to concentration camps.  The misplaced resentment against Japanese Americans also ran so deep, that even after the young Japanese American G.I. proved their patriotism in battle, they were not easily welcomed back home, to the point that one barber shop owner justified it by saying, “They all look alike to me.”  Hell, that’s what I heard said about black Americans back in the 1960s!
Brown’s spotless set-up straps you into your seat-belt for a six-part saga of a people mistrusted, who then excelled against all odds. Reading a chapter or so per night, I only closed the book to sleep and with anticipation of what the next Part would describe and I’m challenged here, to validly convey the accuracy and compassion of his reporting the events which led to the battlefield confrontations with Hitler’s forces in WWII.  What the doughty Nisei soldiers overcame should be read by every American, no matter your ethnic background – especially in these trying times.  One can truly see that, as the saying goes, “It could be a lot worse!” after reading this volume of valiance.
Chapter 19 is a standout exhale and great change of pace.  Brown even fills-in the blanks about what happened to the deep-voiced, late, great U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, who I noticed once on TV, had only one arm.  He is but one of many real characters we meet by name and family history in this true story. A personal glow came over me when I read page 382, about how one of the 442nd battalion’s assignments took them to Menton,  near the French Riviera, where they saw white zinnias among other beautiful flowers.  I sold zinnia flower seeds door-to-door in my neighborhood as a boy, to earn prizes depicted on the backs of the comic books I read and had forgotten all about that! “Mountain” contains many reminders of why history is as important to study now, more than ever, as he recounts how the inhumanity nationalistic madmen, bent upon world dominance, can inflict needless suffering upon other men, women and children – and which we, collectively, must never let happen again on our planet. Often chilling and painful to reflect upon, but always riveting, educational reading.  5 out-of-five WWII field artillery canons.

If you are an Achilliad frequent-flyer, you know I was an English/Communications (double) Major at the university and that I review or report on books I read, from time-to-time. Its much more pleasurable to read for fun and information than for a grade, by the way! So this season, I have a new reason to try a different angle: letting you VIPs see what is on my bedside bookshelf reading list this summer!

I don’t promise to review or report on all of these, but in any event, they caught my eyes at the library long enough to bring home for a closer look!

Of particular note is “A Boob’s Life”, by Leslie Lehr, which hooked me – maybe because I’m a “breast man” – long enough to tap into my curiosity about how women really feel (no pun intended) about their titties. I am into it already and the author seems kind of angry with historic purpose.

The other hottie at my bedside is Daniel James Brown’s “Facing The Mountain”, which is about the mistreatment of Japanese Americans in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack on us during World War II. Fascinatingly relevant on so many levels to our American circumstances even here in the summer of 2021.

“Little Fires Everywhere”, by Celeste Ng, is a novel that just cannot seem to snag my attention long enough to finish – it drags a bit, despite excellent reviews when it came out. I want to see it through, but may have to purchase it if I run out of library renews.

On the historical tip is Ronald C. White’s “Lincoln In Private”, which are the written etchings of the man who many hold up as our greatest American President, Abraham Lincoln. It is a kind of “behind-the-scenes” look at the notes he wrote in-between crafting and delivering his lectures and speeches about the issues during his times; some of it resonates to our collective current calamities.

So that’s IT! As the public service announcement used to say, “Reading Is FUNdamental!”Have a good reading summer, wherever your travels take you, and maybe we can compare notes and opinions in the Autumn.

spencer fleury dot com

proto-thoughts, fleeting obsessions and insomnia cures from an occasionally unreliable narrator

Gobbledygook

We all go a little mad sometimes.

Off the Charts

American Journal of Nursing blog: diverse nursing voices and stories

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

Weapons

A brain is a battlefield of ideas

Billb62's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Voices of Ukraine

Politics, anti-government rallies, other. Maidan.

tekArtist

Warning: Widespread Weirdness

%d bloggers like this: