Tallgrass – Audio CD Review


By: Sandra Dallas
Read by: Loreli King

Reviewed by Paul McMahon

This is a terrific book.

You may not be aware that many Japanese Americans who lived in the Western states were moved to internment camps because they might be spies. I was growing up here in Connecticut during World War II and I will tell you I knew a lot more of the details of the very top secret atomic bomb than I knew about the Japanese Internees. Today there are suspicions that there was a lot more graft and greed behind the internments than actual fear of spying by the Japanese Americans. The Japanese Americans were very industrious and had valuable and profitable farms, orchards and fisheries which they had to sell in a few days for pennies on the dollar to buyers who suddenly had the cash.

The book is fiction derived from many factual stories.

Tallgrass was an internment camp built in southeastern Colorado near a very small town named Ellis. The story focuses on a sugar beet farming family whose farm was next to the camp. Rennie is a thirteen year old girl in the family. The story follows her growing up while everyone is dealing with the internees. There are townspeople who hate the Japs and those who tolerate them. There is even at least one white who loves at least one of them.

The author is a master at developing the characters both by describing them and also by describing their deeds. There are all kinds of interactions. The townspeople have a natural suspicion of strangers and having thousands of strangers suddenly plopped down in their midst surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by armed soldiers in towers and lit up by search lights just added to the mix.

Enjoy the book. It might even challenge you to write a term paper on the subject of the internment and the taking away of civil rights for American citizens.

You might also wonder what happened to German American — nothing. Strangely there was a very active German American Bund that sympathized with the Nazis and their anti-semitic propaganda and actions.

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