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Eyes of the emperor
Book
2005
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. Like Harry Mazer's Heroes Don't Run,0 on p.1671, this novel is about a teen, this time from Honolulu, who lies about his age to enlist in the U.S Army during World War II. But Eddie Okubo, 16, is Japanese American, and the racism he encounters in the military is as terrifying to him as the fire of the enemy. Here Salisbury draws on his interviews with many Japanese American veterans who remember their experiences in powerful detail--their patriotism, courage, and anguish. Eddie's frank, first-person narrative weaves in the facts of how the "Japs" were segregated from the regular soldiers, assigned unskilled hard labor and marches to nowhere, and then, in a shocking (failed) experiment that was ordered by President Roosevelt, were directed to act as enemies and train attack dogs to pick up the so-called Japanese body odor. The cruel training, the vicious prejudice from many officers, the camaraderie among the soldiers, and the mixed-up news from family bring a view of American history seldom told and open up the meanings of homeland0 and patriotism.0 Salisbury's Under the Blood-Red Sun 0 (1994), which was also set in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor, won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2005 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Salisbury chronicles the true story of Hawaiian soldiers of Japanese descent following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Eddy Okubo has an evolving understanding that Japanese Americans are no longer trusted, even if they are serving in the U.S. armed forces. "To them we all look like Hirohito. . . . We got the eyes of the Emperor," they realize. Eddy and 25 others are sent to Cat Island, Miss., where their humiliation is absolute. They are part of an experiment (based on a racist, erroneous theory that Japanese smell different from Caucasians) to see if army dogs can be trained to scent Japanese soldiers. Through a process of merciless brutalization, the dogs will be trained to hate, hunt and attack "the bait." Eddy can only face this cruel duty by reconciling it with his vow to wipe out the shame his father felt after Pearl Harbor, and to prove his loyalty and his worthiness to serve. Salisbury's tone, both unsentimental and unsensational, renders his telling all the more powerfully affecting. Morally and psychologically complex, historically accurate and unforgettably gripping. (author's note, glossary) (Historical fiction. 12+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
Eddy Okubo lies about his age and joins the army in his hometown of Honolulu only weeks before the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Suddenly Americans see him as the enemy--even the U.S. Army doubts the loyalty of Japanese American soldiers.<br> <br> Then the army sends Eddy and a small band of Japanese American soldiers on a secret mission to a small island off the coast of Mississippi. Here they are given a special job, one that only they can do. Eddy's going to help train attack dogs. He's going to be the bait.
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