Before Pearl Harbor, Mack Mayeda and his brother lived in a boarding house in West Los Angeles and worked as a gardener. Taking home more than one hundred fifty dollars a month, he was earning more than some of his friends in the retail produce business.
December 7, 1941 began as another ordinary day. But halfway through lunch, news of trouble in Hawaii had made its way into the radios. Mayeda knew, even before reports identified them, that the Japanese Imperial Navy’s aircrafts had bombed Pearl Harbor. Things would never be the same again.
Two months later, Mayeda received Executive Order No. 9066. The author, along with other Japanese Americans, was shipped to the so-called concentration camps. Manzanar Daze and Cold Nights bears witness to the ordeals and the kind of life Mayeda experienced in the Manzanar.
Even though it was a far cry from Auschwitz, it was not The Ritz either. Mayeda and the other “detainees” tried to make do and make the best of what they could during these turbulent times. The pages of this engrossing memoir narrate the life of a man trapped in a war not of his own making, guilty only of the blood running through his veins, through no fault of his own.
Years later, the experience haunts Mayeda like a nightmare that won’t go away.