They Called Us Enemy (2019) by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, & Scott Becker (illustrated by Harmony Becker)
George Takei tells the story of his family's (and thousands of others of Japanese descent) incarceration during WWII in American internment camps--all in the name of American defense.
In 2016 I went with friends to see Allegiance (the live performance viewed through the local cinema), a Broadway musical based on the events depicted in this graphic novel. It was a moving experience--I came out of the theater weeping, which doesn't happen often. Both that production and this graphic novel depict events from World War II of which this country should be ashamed. We were off to fight in a war that was being waged because certain people thought they were better than others--either part of the "master race" or part of the chose empire or whatever. Hitler was evil because he and his gang had decided that Jews, the Roma peoples, homosexuals, and the disabled all did not deserve the life of the master race. They were sent to camps to either be worked to death or just straight up put to death. Horrible!
And yet...here in America we immediately began to round up people who did not look like "real" Americans (for which, read white). Those of Japanese/Asian heritage were easy targets because they didn't look like the white folks running the country--and any of them might be spies. So better safe than sorry, you know. It was a little more difficult to single out German or Italian "spies"--there were no physical markers that let "real" Americans who the German or Italian Americans were.
Takei's story highlights the prejudice and fear that fueled the push to segregate Japanese Americans for their own good. And he ultimately ties that story into present-day events that are disturbing echoes of the past. The way "real" Americans are still eager to target those who don't look like them--to limit their access to enter the country. To put them on no-fly lists. And, sometimes, to even kill them. There are lessons to be learned from these horrible mistakes from the past--lessons that I wish everyone would learn from and help to change our country--and our world--for the better. ★★★★★
First line: "George! Henry! Get up at once."
Last lines: "Justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other...that history can't be a sword to justify injustice or a shield against progress...that my liberty depends on you being free too...but must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past." ~President Barkck Obama