Stubborn Twig: ¬†Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family by Lauren Kessler
Stubborn Twig is a classic American story, a story of immigrants making their way in a new land. It is a living work of social history that rings with the power of truth and the drama of fiction, a moving saga about the challenges of becoming an American. Masuo Yasui traveled from Japan across the other Oregon Trail‚Äîthe one that spanned the Pacific Ocean‚Äîin 1903. Like most immigrants, he came with big dreams and empty pockets. Working on the railroads, in a cannery, and as a houseboy before settling in Hood River, Oregon, he opened a store, raised a large family, and became one of the area‚Äôs most successful orchardists.As Masuo broke the race barrier in the local business community, his American-born children broke it in school, scouts and sports, excelling in most everything they tried. For the Yasuis‚Äô first-born son, the constraints and contradictions of being both Japanese and American led to tragedy. But his seven brothers and sisters prevailed, becoming doctors, lawyers, teachers, and farmers. It was a classic tale of the American dream come true‚Äîuntil December 7, 1941, changed their lives forever. The Yasuis were among the more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry along the West Coast who were forced from their homes and interned in vast inland ‚Äúrelocation camps.‚Äù Masuo was arrested as a spy and imprisoned for the rest of the war; his family was shamed and broken. Yet the Yasuis endured, as succeeding generations took up the challenge of finding their identity as Americans. Stubborn Twig is their story‚Äîa story at once tragic and triumphant, one that bears eloquent witness to both the promise and the peril of America.