Summary and book reviews of Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

Midnight in Broad Daylight

A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds

by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto X
Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2016, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2017, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Mollie Smith Waters

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About this Book

Book Summary

Alternating between American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylight provides a fresh look at the dropping of the first atomic bomb.

After their father's death, Harry, Frank, and Pierce Fukuhara - all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest - moved to Hiroshima, their mother's ancestral home. Eager to go back to his own land - America - Harry returned in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Despite being sent to an internment camp, Harry dutifully volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, his brothers Frank and Pierce became soldiers in the Japanese Imperial Army. As the war raged on, Harry, one of the finest bilingual interpreters in the United States Army, island-hopped across the Pacific, moving ever closer to the enemy and to his younger brothers. But before the Fukuharas would have to face each other in battle, the U.S. detonated the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, gravely injuring tens of thousands of civilians, including members of their family.

Alternating between the American and Japanese perspectives, Midnight in Broad Daylight captures the uncertainty and intensity of those charged with the fighting and provides a fresh look at the dropping of the first atomic bomb.

PROLOGUE: SHOCKWAVE

San-u
kitaran to hosshite kaze ro ni mitsu

When strong winds begin to blow, showers cannot be far behind.

Nothing seemed amiss that first Sunday in December 1941. Ponytailed beauties strolled the boardwalk, bodybuilders paraded for show at Muscle Beach, and children shrieked aboard the Whirling Dipper coaster as it clattered over the metal track at the Santa Monica Pier. The day was young, the nation placid, and Christmas was just a few weeks away. No one could have guessed that at that moment, 2,500 miles across the Pacific, Japanese planes were zeroing in on military installations throughout the island of Oahu.

So it was that sometime before noon, a twenty-one-year-old gardener working in the scorching sun had no cause for alarm when his employer emerged from the shade of her house. He stopped the mower to catch her words. "Harry," she said, "Japan has attacked Pearl Harbor."

"Oh, is that so?" The news meant little to him. He nodded and the woman...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Author Pamela Rotner Sakamoto brilliantly captures the hardships and anxieties of the Fukuhara family.   (Reviewed by Mollie Smith Waters).

Full Review (636 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sakamoto presents a gripping story of colorful individuals, though her novelistic tone often undermines the gravity of the story she relates.

Library Journal
Starred Review. Sakamoto succeeds in telling a new, compelling, and essential World War II narrative by presenting a story about family caught on both sides of history.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A beautifully rendered work wrought with enormous care and sense of compassionate dignity.

Author Blurb Herbert Bix, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
Midnight in Broad Daylight is a deeply moving, well-written work that ranks among the better accounts of the injuries inflicted in wartime on civilian and ethnic populations. Students of war crimes and crimes against humanity are sure to notice this book.

Author Blurb Ron Powers, Pulitizer Prize winner and author of Mark Twain: A Life
[O]ne of the most wrenching, inspirational-and until now unknown-true epics of World War II….luminous, magisterial…[Sakamoto] has helped shape and set the standard for a vital and necessary new genre: transpacific literature. Her readers will want more.

Author Blurb Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, coauthor of Farewell to Manzanar
Riveting in its alternating American and Japanese perspectives, and a fresh look at the dropping of the atom bomb over Hiroshima, this story is inspirational as well as educational. A great addition to World War II literature.

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Beyond the Book

Internment Camp Newspapers

Gila Internment Camp RuinsIn Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds, Harry Fukuhara, his sister Mary, and his niece Jeanie were forced into internment camps built to house people of Japanese descent who were living in the United States during World War II. Over 127,000 Japanese Americans, mostly from the West Coast where anti-Japanese sentiment ran highest, were sent to the camps.

Life in the internment camps was difficult, and little privacy existed. People had to use communal showers, toilets, and laundries. While libraries were available, Japanese language books, except for dictionaries, were not allowed. Even under these trying conditions, internees published their own newspapers. The two papers the Fukuharas would ...

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