They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
My Ratings: 5/5
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon — and America itself — in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.
George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.
What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.
Warnings: World War 2, War, Racism, Pearl Harbor.
I prefer to avoid reading autobiographies for a reason. Their subject matter will either make me regret being part of humanity or warm up my heart and I’d die out of raw emotions from reading the hardships someone had to experience in their life time and I just can’t deal with that. Comic Books being a creative space for writers and artists to share personal lives or a little bit of a history lesson isn’t new. We got thousands of autobiographies in comic book forms, one them recently one of my favorite was Anna Frank Diary adapted recently but this one… This one takes the cake.
In almost childish wonder, George Takei take us back to the era of world war 2 and introduce us to an era where American Japanese where scrutinized. dehumanized and the politics involved back then. George using humor in a way to break this unsettling reality he lived in as a child and not understanding completely what’s happening was so helpful. I don’t think I could have finished reading something so difficult without it. The memoir also gives us a little bit of a history lesson to what was going on during world war 2, George pursuing a career in acting and his relationship with his father, what his family has been through and how this event in history finally ended.
Please, read this. You got to do yourself a favor and read it not out of a commitment as a comic book or a reader but as a person who never knew during that era. It is a amazing experience, with the amazing artwork by Harmony Becker and George Takei’s narration.
Is it Diverse? Japanese-American as main narrator and the history of the community during world war 2.