They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of the years he and his family spent imprisoned within a Japanese internment camp, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.
...a riveting graphic novel-memoir ... Enemy deserves to be a popular recommendation at school libraries across the land — humanizing a brutal chapter in U.S. history that even many adults seem to understand only vaguely ... At 82, Takei has evolved into an increasingly powerful voice for oppressed communities, and Enemy finds him at peak moral clarity — an unflinching force in these divisive times. Young readers would do well to learn his story of a childhood set against a historically racist backdrop, told in clear and unmuddled prose. As our politicians trade semantics, They Called Us Enemy calls upon readers to see past the walls, cages and words that divide us.
... a stunning example of how the graphic novel format can make tough subjects accessible ... Takei and his co-authors do a brilliant job of telling this story from several perspectives ... The official reasons and the ugly laws responsible for the internment camps are carefully portrayed, evoking echoes with current forms of demonizing 'others' as national security risks ... The text walks a careful balance, giving enough bureaucratic language to evoke the full cruelty of the new law without burdening the reader in too much information ... There's justifiable anger and outrage in this book, but the writers let the facts speak for themselves ... The art by Harmony Becker serves the story well. It's spare, evocative, and emotionally powerful, just as the text is. Together, this book presents a riveting story of a horrible injustice enacted with careful, logical cruelty in the name of national security ... A riveting story of a horrible injustice enacted with careful, logical cruelty in the name of national security. In the wake of similar stories happening now, the publication of They Called Us Enemy could not be more timely ... A copy should be sent to every member of Congress and the Justice Department.
A stirring call to learn from history we do not wish to repeat, George Takei’s graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy relays a story not easily forgotten, but too often ignored. The soft lines and subtle gray textures of the black-and-white illustrations sit at odds with the harrowing details they convey as Takei recounts his childhood spent as one of the 120,000 Japanese Americans held in American concentration camps during World War II ... A cogent reminder that liberty and justice is not always for all, They Called Us Enemy explores a dark episode of America’s past as it dives into the heart of a pop culture icon.