Bridge to the Sun: Book summary and reviews of Bridge to the Sun by Bruce Henderson

Bridge to the Sun

The Secret Role of the Japanese Americans Who Fought in the Pacific in World War II

by Bruce Henderson

Bridge to the Sun by Bruce Henderson X
Bridge to the Sun by Bruce Henderson
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Book Summary

One of the last, great untold stories of World War II - kept hidden for decades - even after most of the World War II records were declassified in 1972, many of the files remained untouched in various archives - a gripping true tale of courage and adventure from Bruce Henderson, master storyteller, historian, and New York Times bestselling author of Sons and Soldiers - the saga of the Japanese American U.S. Army soldiers who fought in the Pacific theater, in Burma, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, with their families back home in America, under U.S. Executive Order 9066, held behind barbed wire in government internment camps.

After Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. military was desperate to find Americans who spoke Japanese to serve in the Pacific war. They soon turned to the Nisei—first-generation U.S. citizens whose parents were immigrants from Japan. Eager to prove their loyalty to America, several thousand Nisei—many of them volunteering from the internment camps where they were being held behind barbed wire—were selected by the Army for top-secret training, then were rushed to the Pacific theater. Highly valued as expert translators and interrogators, these Japanese American soldiers operated in elite intelligence teams alongside Army infantrymen and Marines on the front lines of the Pacific war, from Iwo Jima to Burma, from the Solomons to Okinawa.

Henderson reveals, in riveting detail, the harrowing untold story of the Nisei and their major contributions in the war of the Pacific, through six Japanese American soldiers. After the war, these soldiers became translators and interrogators for war crime trials, and later helped to rebuild Japan as a modern democracy and a pivotal U.S. ally.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This exceptional history documents the crucial part played by Japanese American soldiers and interpreters in the Pacific theater of WWII...a stirring tribute to the courage and sacrifice of young men who exemplified 'the true definition of patriotism.'" - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Henderson...brings a great deal of investigative acumen to his latest. He follows the stories of several 'nisei—first-generation American citizens born in the United States whose parents were immigrants from Japan'—to give personal depth to the bigger picture...This book is an important step in providing much-needed recognition for these brave Americans. A fascinating piece of history with threads of courage and poignancy, brought to life by an accomplished storyteller." - Kirkus Reviews

"[A] clearly written tale of patriotism and resilience ... Henderson sketches the life stories of Japanese Americans who waged a war against racial prejudice at home and fascism abroad by serving as interpreters, translators, and soldiers ... Readers will appreciate the vignettes on courage, culture, and the intricacies of the Japanese language." - Library Journal

"Bridge to the Sun tells a revelatory American story about the Japanese American soldiers who served in the Military Intelligence Service in the Pacific during World War II. Their very cultural background which made so many Americans suspicious and led to the incarceration of 110,000 ethnic Japanese—most of them U.S. citizens—became an invaluable American military asset. Henderson's focus on six MIS Nisei allows him to tell their narratives in vivid, well-researched detail and his skills as a narrator make this book both engaging and informative. Amid our present anti-immigrant xenophobia, this book provides a necessary lesson: Immigrants and diversity are our strength and are central to our history." - David Mura, author of Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei, and co-producer/writer of the PBS documentary Armed With Language

"Bruce Henderson, brilliant at unearthing little-known, yet important, stories, does it again with Bridge to the Sun, this time shining a light on Japanese Americans who nobly served their nation in a war with their ancestral homeland, Japan. In focusing on a handful of Nisei soldiers, Henderson personalizes the war and triumphs in making their struggles more evident. Readers will be moved by the courageous tales of these individuals who fought with such skill for the land of their birth, America." - John Wukovits, author of Tin Can Titans

"Bridge to the Sun tells the unforgettable true story of Japanese American troops who defended our nation while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II—even as their families were being imprisoned in American internment camps back home. This book honors their courage and sacrifices, and it highlights the lesser-known service of the Japanese Americans who helped save countless American lives as part of the Army's Military Intelligence Service while fighting on two fronts: against the Japanese overseas and against racial prejudice here at home." - Senator Tammy Duckworth

This information about Bridge to the Sun was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Bruce Henderson

Bruce Henderson is the author of more than twenty nonfiction books, including Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazi and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler, and True North: Peary, Cook and the Race to the Pole. He is the co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell (with Vincent Bugliosi). An award-winning journalist who has taught reporting and writing at USC School of Journalism and Stanford University, Henderson lives in northern California.

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