Cross Current: A Tale of Racial Conflicts Leading to the World War II Internment of Japanese-Americans

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9781434359438: Cross Current: A Tale of Racial Conflicts Leading to the World War II Internment of Japanese-Americans

Cross Current combines historical facts with real life experiences to weave a tale of friendship, war, and family. Set on the northern coast of California, Cross Current centers around two 14-year-old friends, Brick Burton, who is white, and Toby Yamoto, who is Japanese-American. Early in world War II, the Japanese Empire attempted to bring the conflict closer to America, through probing subs, floating explosives, and later, incendiary balloons, which created fear and suspicion.

Brick and Toby’s relationship has to weather storms of turmoil and discrimination towards the native Japanese living in the community. The two boys witness the demise of a romance between Toby’s sister, Rose, and their white neighbor, Mike Hamilton. When Mike joins the military, and asks Rose to marry him, they are condemned by the community, and their families are in an uproar.

Toby and Rose’s father, Shiro Yamoto, a successful rancher and prize-winning photographer, becomes a hate target, rumored as a possible spy. Rose breaks off her engagement to Mike and loses her job because of her race. Meanwhile, Brick’s parents are on the verge of divorce and his family is beginning to dislike the Yamoto’s in reaction to the spreading racism. Armed, Mr. Yamoto ultimately resists interment to a relocation camp.

Cross Current highlights an important, relatively forgotten chapter of American history and gives the reader an accurate portrayal of friendship, biases, and racial strife in 1940’s wartime.

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About the Author:

Kenn Sherwood Roe, of Redding, California, is a retired Shasta Community College instructor. He has been a high school teacher, a college administrator, a rancher, a park ranger, a Navy Reservist, a public relations man for TV, and an author of nine novels with G.P. Putnam's and Random House, as well as over 250 articles and short stories. He once worked at CBS Television City, Hollywood, on the Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Art Linkletter, and I Love Lucy shows; and, was involved in productions with three personalities who had not yet found their ultimate niche: Walter Cronkite, Johnny Carson, and one Ronald Reagan. An amateur naturalist and western history buff, Roe had ancestors who crossed the Isthmus of Panama to reach the California Gold Rush. As a youth, he was blessed with parents who divided their time between a vacation cottage on the rugged Pacific Coast and a home in the Mother Lode country of the Sierras, where he was student body president of both his high school and his community college. Roe received a B.A. from Stanford University, a Fulbright exchange scholarship, and a Master's from the University of Nevada, where he fell in love with the history and the mystique of the desert. He is married, has three children, with grandchildren, and a white toy poodle, Roebe Le Chien, who enjoys the seashore as much as does his master, Kenn.

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