Pub. Date:
Oregon State University Press
Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family

Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family

by Lauren KesslerLauren Kessler
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To celebrate Oregon's 150th birthday, the Oregon Library Association has chosen one book for all Oregonians to read: Stubborn Twig. Lauren Kessler's award-winning book, the selection for the statewide Oregon Reads program, is a classic 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-the one that spanned the Pacific Ocean-in 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's 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' 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-until December 7, 1941, changed their lives forever.

The Yasuis were among the 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry along the West Coast who were forced from their homes and sent to vast inland internment camps. 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 istheir story-a story at once tragic and triumphant, one that bears eloquent witness to both the promise and the peril of America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780870714177
Publisher: Oregon State University Press
Publication date: 08/12/2008
Series: Oregon Reads
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 308
Sales rank: 610,377
Product dimensions: 6.06(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Lauren Kessler is the author of nine books, among them Stubborn Twig, which received the Frances Fuller Victor Award for the year's best work of literary nonfiction. She directs the grad-uate program in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where she lives with her husband and three children.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Foreword   Governor Theodore R. Kulongski     ix
Preface     xiii
Acknowledgments     xvi
Issei: The First Generation
Spacious Dreams     3
Paradise     19
Roots Sunk Deep     35
The Yellow Scourge     53
Mat Yasui, Cottage Industry     67
Paradise Lost     89
Nisei: The Second Generation
A Shadow Across the Canvas     109
The Overachievers     137
Oriental Jailbird     153
A Viper Is a Viper     175
Behind Barbed Wire     189
Homecoming     211
Two Hundred Percent American     227
Sansei: The Third Generation
Willow Flat     247
The Past Is Prologue     263
Interview with Homer Yasui     279
Reading Group Questions     285
Sources     287
Index     299

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