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A Time To Choose
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A Time To Choose

By Edward Blight
2001, 309 pages, paperback.
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Book Description from Front Cover Flap

When Japanese bombs destroyed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the world for Japanese Americans was changed forever. This fictional account by Edward Blight describes these changes primarily through two Japanese American families. The Hayakawas, fishermen from Los Angeles, are sent to the detention camp at Manzanar. Oldest son Ken, diverted from medical school, volunteers for service with the famous 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed of Nisei from Hawaii and the US mainland. He joins the unit at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, for training and then ships out for Europe, where the regiment participates in some of the bloodiest fighting of the war in Italy and France.

Meanwhile, the Nakamura family, raised in Seattle, but having moved to Tokyo for their girls' college education, are caught by the war. For Aileen and her sister, they are aliens in a foreign land, a land at war with their homeland.

As the war progresses, Blight leads these two families and others through both the European and the Pacific theaters of war and the home fronts in the United States and Japan, until Ken and Aileen meet during the Occupation. Against a historically authentic background, Blight explores the issues of racial prejudice, assimilation, discrimination by their government, and loyalty to country faced by Japanese Americans during World War II and its aftermath.

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Comments from Back Cover

"During World War II, 30,000 Japanese Americans served in the U.S. military, 21 were awarded the Medal of Honor, over 9,000 earned Purple Heart medals, 120,000 were interned, and thousands were visiting Japan and caugtht by war. While these figures are remarkable, they fail to radiate the heart and soul of Japanese Americans.

A TIME TO CHOOSE ensures these Americans of Japanese ancestry will not remain faceless statistics by giving them life, and providing an intimate portrait of individuals whose heritage and patriotismm sustained and guided them through difficult times."
-Daniel K. Inouye, United States Senator, Hawaii, Medal of Honor, 442nd Regimental Team

"Amarvelous account of Japanese Americans in World War II, torn from their homes to internment camps, to wars in Italy, Germany, and in the Pacific Islands and to find meaning in their lives in desolated Japan."
-Shigeya Kihara, Instructor, Military Intelligence Service Language School (Ret)

"Edward Blight writes insightfully and accurately about the infamous incident in our U.S. history that most authorities shun - the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. If you're a 'History isn't my thing' person, his moving story of two families caught in webs that wars inevitably weave into our lives, is for you. And if you're a 'history excites me!' person, Blight's historically and culturally accurate book will provide you with hours of reading enjoyment."
-Aretta Loving, Speaker and author of Slices of Life (publ. in English & Russian)

"The story of Japanese Americans and their relationship to their new homeland during World War II is unlike that of any other immigrant group in our nation's history. In 'A Time to Choose,' Edward Blight presents that sotry with compassion and sympathy, but - more importantly - with unflinching candor and honesty as well. Without either mawkishness or condescension, he examines the harsh, historical forces which first made pariahs of the Pacific Coast Japanese settlers, and then asked of them the greatest sacrifices that patriotism can produce. How they responded is the basis for an inspiring, very human tale of valor, self-sacrifice and vidication."
-C. Wyly Watson, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret), Military Intelligence branch

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Background on Edward Blight

This is the first novel for Edward Blight. Born in Santa Barbara, California and educated at the Citadel and the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, he served as a physician in the US Army for twenty years. Following eighteen more years in academic medicine, he retired in the summer of 2000. A chance encounter with a Japanese American patient led to the research that brought forth this novel. Blight currently lives with his wife in Pacific Grove, California.

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