Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Strawberry Days forever

Tom Takeo Matsuoka, at age 98

I got some good news the other day that I wanted to share here: My historical account of a Japanese-American community destroyed by the internment is being published next year:

Strawberry Days: The Rise and Fall of a Japanese-American Community

It's being picked up by Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, publishers of my second book, Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crimes in Modern America. That's due to hit the shelves in July, for those interested.

I'm awfully pleased to see Strawberry Days getting into print. It's actually the first book I wrote -- the original manuscript dates back to 1995. It originated with an award-winning series I wrote while news editor of the old Bellevue Journal American back in 1992, for which I conducted the original interviews that are its basis. In the ensuing years, I've conducted numerous more interviews and compiled even more research (the original version was not very good, to be frank). It's really been a 10-year project for me, and I'm very proud of the result. Unfortunately, many of my original interviewees have since passed away, including the book's main figure, a 98-year-old Nisei (and a great human being) named Tom Takeo Matsuoka, whose portrait appears above.

Kudos to my agents, Greg Dinkins and Frank Scatoni at Venture Literary, who continue to do a bang-up job for me. And many thanks too to Brendan O'Malley, my editor at Palgrave.

[While I'm on the subject, I hope everyone has been checking out my extended series at The American Street titled "Slouching Towards Manzanar," which springboards from the experitise I picked up in the writing of Strawberry Days to explore the ramifications of the World War II internment for America in the post-9/11 environment.]

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