New book recommendations include war books, female pastor biography

Retired banker Duke Griffey of Shreveport is a friend and fellow book lover of whom I regularly ask: “What are you reading?”

While he will read almost anything, he particularly likes books about World War II, which seem especially timely now with war sadly again capturing headlines. He’s a curious, studious reader who generously shares his book reviews of him throughout the Shreveport area.

A few years ago, Griffey turned me on to “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown, an enthralling nonfiction book about an unlikely Olympic rowing team during World War I. Both my husband and I loved this book. Recommended early by Griffey, it went on to be a huge bestseller and inspired a PBS documentary.

Now Griffey recommends a new favorite, also by Brown: “Facing The Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II.” The story of the 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated shortly after Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii and on the East Coast, is not particularly well known, Griffey says. “This book certainly brings that time in history to light and magnificently so.”

About patriotism and resistance, it focuses on four Japanese American men and their families and the contributions and sacrifices they made for the sake of the nation. “’Facing The Mountain’ is another absolutely slam dunk and five-star non-fiction book,” Griffey says. “Mr. Brown is a literary artist in how he tells a story.”

More about the book:

In the days and months after Pearl Harbor, the lives of Japanese Americans were changed forever. In this chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe, portrays the journey of Rudy Tokiwa, Fred Shiosaki and Kats Miho, who volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible. Brown also tells the story of these soldiers’ parents, immigrants who were forced to submit to life in concentration camps on US soil. Woven throughout is the chronicle of Gordon Hirabayashi, one of a cadre of patriotic resisters who stood up against their government in defense of their own rights.

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