(Virtual) Author Discussion—Facing the Mountain with Daniel James Brown

Selected date

Saturday May 14

Selected time

2:00 PM  –  3:30 PM

Join New York Times bestselling author of The Boys on the Boat, Daniel James Brown, in conversation with Tom Ikeda, Executive Director of Densho, to celebrate the release of the paperback edition of his newest book Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II.

About the book:

They came from across the continent and Hawaii. Their parents taught them to embrace both their Japanese heritage and their American homeland. They faced bigotry, yet they believed in their bright futures as American citizens. But within days of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the FBI was ransacking their houses and locking up their fathers. And within months many would themselves be living behind barbed wire.

Showcasing Brown’s inimitable narrative skills, Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable story unfolding across war-time America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on Brown’s extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, the book chronicles the kaleidoscopic journeys of four Japanese-American families and their sons—Gordon Hirabayashi, Rudy Tokiwa, Fred Shiosaki, and Kats Miho. One demonstrated his courage as a resister. The others volunteered for 442nd Regimental Combat Team and displayed fierce courage in the mountains and forests of France, Germany, and Italy where they were tasked with doing the near-impossible.

But this is more than a tale of war. Brown also tells the story of these soldiers’ parents, Japanese immigrants who were forced to shutter the businesses, surrender their homes, and submit to life in concentration camps on U.S. 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 Constitutional rights. Whether on battlefields or in courtrooms, these were Americans under unprecedented strain, doing what Americans—at their best—are capable of doing: striving, resisting, rising up, standing on principle, laying down their lives, and enduring. Brown explores the questions of what home means, what makes a team succeed, who gets to be a “real American,” and what citizens owe their country—and vice versa.  


Facing the Mountain is available now in hardcover from the JANM Store and will be available in paperback in May 2022.

This program is presented in partnership with Densho.