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They Called Us Enemy

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9781603094504: They Called Us Enemy
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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 does it mean to be 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.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of July 2019: Made famous via his role as Sulu in Star Trek, George Takei became a cultural phenomenon in the real world through his civil rights engagement and his support for democracy. Now, in his graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy, Takei reveals the story of his family’s incarceration during the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. A United States citizen—as was everyone in his family except his father, who had been living in the U.S. for decades—Takei was only 5 years old when the government forced his family to leave their home and possessions and move to a concentration camp along with hundreds of others. Takei pivots between showing through his child’s eyes the years in internment with expressing his later, more-adult understanding of how deeply his parents suffered during and after their imprisonment. Just as emotionally staggering is how Takei’s father maintained his faith in the democratic system while the larger government failed him. The straightforward illustrations make this graphic memoir a read comfortable for all ages, even as the memories depicted range from unsettling to infuriating. It would be easy to consider Takei’s story simply a colorful glimpse of the misbegotten past. But its power, like John Lewis’ March trilogy, burns in how it persuades the reader to consider how much we’ve really changed since Franklin D. Roosevelt and Earl Warren decided to imprison families based on unsupported fears. They Called Us Enemy also inspires readers to engage through democracy to insist that we treat fellow human beings with fairness and dignity. —Adrian Liang, Amazon Book Review

About the Author:

George Takei is known around the world for his founding role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise, in the acclaimed television series Star Trek. But Takei's story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in Japanese American internment camps during World War II, to becoming one of the country's leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality, Mashable named Takei the #1 most-influential person on Facebook, with 10.4 million likes and 2.8 million followers on Twitter.

Justin Eisinger is Editorial Director, Graphic Novels & Collections for IDW Publishing, where he has spent more than twelve years immersed in graphic storytelling. Following a fateful encounter with March author and Civil Rights pioneer Congressman John Lewis, Eisinger turned his experience adapting television episodes and film towards bringing engaging non-fiction stories to readers.

Steven Scott has worked regularly in comics since publishing his debut book in 2010, most notably as a publicist. His writing has appeared in publications by Archie Comics, Arcana Studios, and Heavy Metal magazine. As a blogger/columnist he has written for the pop culture sites Forces of Geek, Great Scott Comics, and PopMatters.

Harmony Becker is an artist and illustrator. She is the creator of the comics Himawari Share, Love Potion, and Anemone and Catharus. She is a member of a multicultural family and has spent time living in South Korea and Japan. Her work often deals with the theme of the language barrier and how it shapes people and their relationships.

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