Eyes of the Emperor

by Graham Salisbury

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, sixteen-year-old Eddy Okubo lies about his age... read more

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, sixteen-year-old Eddy Okubo lies about his age in order to join the U.S. army. Eddy becomes part of a small group of Japanese Americans selected for special training. They aren’t told the details until they arrive at Cat Island, located near the Gulf Coast on the Mississippi River. There, they discover they are part of a secret mission: dogs are being trained to identify the Japanese enemy by scent. Eddy and the other Japanese American soldiers are paired with dogs and handlers, first to bond with the animals, and then to become the bait as the dogs learn to viciously attack the “enemy.” As ludicrous as the idea of the Japanese race having a discernable scent sounds, Graham Salisbury’s gripping novel is based on fact. Twenty-six Japanese American soldiers were part of the rigorous, misguided program on Cat Island before the government finally admitted failure. Eddy’s believable first-person voice resonates with conflicted feelings: patriotism is complicated by anger; honor and loyalty by a growing disgust for the authority that holds him and other Japanese Americans in such low regard. (Ages 12–15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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