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And it is especially important to recall that it was the act of two of the deities of 20th century American Liberalism--FDR and Earl Warren.This is instructive both for what it tells us about the men, that just like Bull Connor or Lester Maddox they placed their own political interests ahead of human rights, as well as for what it tells us about the terror a democracy is capable of imposing.
Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched.
Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense—one that leaves us shaken and changed.
Moreover, it is a sorry statement on the state of our public morality that critics have praised the book for the quality of the moral choice that Ishmael finally makes.
Where I come from, you don't accrue much spiritual credit for revealing the facts that clear an innocent man, even if you did want him out of the way so you could shtup his wife. It has some redeeming qualities, not least of which is reminding our historically challenged society about the internment of innocent Japanese citizens during the War.
Even Slavery and the annihilation of the Indians made sense within the context in which they occurred.
But the rounding up of American citizens, in 1942 under the provisions of Executive Order 9066, simply because of their race, was genuinely despicable. Kabuo Miyamoto stands accused of killing Carl Heine, Jr., the son of Etta Heine, who essentially stole the land that the Miyamoto's were about to finish buying before they were shipped to the Manzanar concentration camp in 1942. was found in his own fishing net, drowned and with his skull stove in, and Miyamoto's was the closest boat.In addition, Carl's blood is on Miyamoto's gaff, one of his lines is found tied to a cleat on Miyamoto's boat and Miyamoto refuses to explain these anomalies.But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric—a masterpiece of suspense which leaves us shaken and changed.But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder.So how can you not fall prostrate and worshipful before this oh so earnest tale of racism in the Pacific Northwest in the 40's and 50's? Judge, prosecutor and defense attorney all seem trapped in a trial they don't really believe in. In one of the interviews below, Guterson claims that he was influenced by Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.How about, because the author stacks the deck so badly on one side that the book is devoid of even the semblance of dramatic tension. Given the excruciatingly contrived set up of the evidence in Carl, Jr's death, it would have been irresponsible not to try Miyamoto for the murder. However, when Lee wrote her book it was an act of political courage for a Southern woman to honestly portray the racist Southern justice system.Now it appears that he may be the only thing that stands between Miyamoto and a guilty verdict.There is really no way to avoid the fact that only the Jim Crow laws compare to the Internment of the Japanese during World War II as the low point for civil rights in this country.The claim is that from the moment you pick up the book it is unavoidable to recognize that Miyamoto is innocent.I see the novel from a different perspective with regard to Miyamoto's innocence.