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 fathersand their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future In a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S government during World War II Experience the forces that shaped an American iconand America itselfin this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.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 spentthan 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. This black and white graphic novel tells the story of how George Takei, famous as helmsman of the starship Enterprise, was imprisoned in an internment camp during World II, how his family survived those four years, and how they moved forward once the war ended.On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Not long after, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry living in the U.S were sent to live in internment camps In the spring of 1942, Takei was incarcerated first at Santa Anita Racetrack, where the family spent months living in a horse stall, and then in two successive internment camps He had just turned 5 He spent the next 4 years living behind barbed wire with his parents and two younger siblings Especially harrowing was the long train trip from California to their first internment camp in Arkansas, taken at a time in history when being herded onto a train led to a notoriously bad outcome Takei s determined mother did everything she could to turn the journey into a vacation for her children, and it is a testament to her determination that she succeeded.Takei s mother was born in the United States But his father, while raised in the U.S., had been born in Japan He was not a U.S citizen because at the time it was illegal for Asians to apply for U.S citizenship These distinctions became critically important for the family While the Takei family was in an internment camp, the Supreme Court found the camps unconstitutional U.S citizens could no longer be held in internment camps, but ironically Japanese Americans were safer behind barbed wire because of the stunningly racist environment of the time Takei s mother took the difficult step of renouncing her U.S citizenship so she could remain in the camp, only to face deportation to war ravaged Japan when the war ended.Years ago, I read George Takei s autobiography To the Stars It was published in 1994 and, as an avid Trekkie who read all the autobiographies of the Star Trek gang, I bought it immediately I expected to read about George Takei s experiences filming Star Trek instead, I was blindsided by reading in vivid detail about his childhood in an internment camp in which people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated I was 33 years old, college educated with three graduate degrees I had never before heard about these camps Our history books have been whitewashed In high school and in college, it simply never came up.My stomach was in a knot before I even cracked open this book It comes into my hands as people of conscience struggle with what is happening at our southern border Children are being separated from their parents at the border, the children effectively incarcerated under unfathomable conditions, the parents also jailed or sent back to their countries of origin Asylum seekers are commonly being mis referred to as illegals Dreams of the better future promised by the U.S are being destroyed, innocents imprisoned In this context, I opened the book It had me in tears by page 8.Apparently, history has taught us nothing.You have heard the expression Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it and its corollary Those who can remember the past are condemned to watch other people repeat it This is why this book is so important, right now It could not have been published at a meaningful time than when we are once again incarcerating children for non existent crimes.They Called Us Enemy is a powerful history lesson, one we should never forget The writing is good The artwork is sparse, but it works very well with the story it is telling One weakness is that no context is given for World War II, just that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and then the U.S found itself at war But it is an excusable omission the authors must have made judicious decisions about what to include and what to exclude, and the tale they tell in this story will stay with you It is an emotional gut wrenching read of a history we would do well not to forget and better not to repeat.My thanks to the publisher for providing an advance reader copy of this book which in no way influenced my review. Happy book birthday to They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker.This graphic novel was sitting at my door today when I got home, and I read it in two hours.They Called Us Enemy is a memoir that tells the story of George Takei known for his groundbreaking role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek as well as his activism for social justice and his family s imprisonment in two different internment camps during World War II Jumping between the present day and WWII,this is a text that belongs in all school and classroom libraries Honestly, though, if you know a middle grade high school reader with an interest in WWII or social justice, they d like this book I was mesmerized by this story Tears definitely fell from my eyes, and I couldn t put it down until I reached the end I love that it is written as a graphic novel and adds another access point for kids to interact with this chapter of history It also is a wonderful tribute to the Takei family and a haunting and timely reminder of the importance of learning from history s mistakes. Beautiful A graphic novel can be one of the most effective ways to reach the hearts of the people It draws people into a story in a way that words, even from the heart, may not.I genuinely enjoy reading George Takei s comments on our lives and the world we live in now His sense of humor helps to keep the horror at bay But he also articulates his opinions of the horror, in bright powerful language It is hard to imagine what he survived and now he has drawn it out for us, in vivid style and mesmerizing voice.This is a difficult book and I would let children read it Mine is on Kindle so they won t, but I will certainly buy it in paperback shortly This is an American story They are living it now It was an American internment camp FDR ordered people of Japanese descent put into camps without due process They lost everything, from their homes to their jobs and their freedom Children know what is going on in our country.Takei uses the comic book format to explain this to a younger audience The resonance of my childhood imprisonment is so loud today every headline, every morning It s an endless cycle of one inhumanity, cruelty, injustice, repeated generation after generation And it s got to stop We have to learn our history America is a land that is made up of the desendents of immigrants Washington Post interview with George Takei, published 7 16 19.This is about history and now.