“Pearl Harbor and More” spotlight


My thoughts on the book:

I was invited to review Pearl Harbor and More, and I was immediately drawn to the concept. We are approaching the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and I love the idea of telling stories set all over the world about how this single event changes so many lives. I think we often view big historical events in terms of a progression of given causes and effects, so it’s easy to forget that those effects were not a given at the time, and that they impacted various people in different ways that may not have made it into the history books.

I am an American, for instance, examines the reactions of Caucasian and Japanese Americans in California to the bombing. Instead of documenting the end result of the bombing in California–the removal and internment of thousands of people of Japanese decent–it looks at the immediate, personal consequences of the far-off event: war hysteria, an upswelling of anti-Japanese sentiment, fear among those who remembered WWI, and an uneasiness in Japanese Americans, who might not have known what was coming, but understood that their lives had just been changed forever.

I Am An American
by Robyn Hobusch Echols:
The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the next day the President of United States calls for a declaration of war on Japan. For the families of two Livingston, California, USA high school seniors, Ellen Okita, a first generation American who lives in the Yamato Colony composed of about 100 families of Japanese descent, and Flo Kaufmann, whose father is a first generation American in his family, the war hits home fast and brings unforeseen changes.

December 8, 1941
Carl Kaufmann turned off the radio, stunned by the news report the family had just finished hearing. They had already heard the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor over in Hawaii. All the big battleships and cruisers had been attacked, all in flames, four of them sunk. Half the airplanes on the islands had been damaged or destroyed. It was not known how many Americans had lost their lives or been injured, but it was in the thousands.

This night the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an impassioned speech, had asked Congress to declare war on Japan and Germany.

Carl turned to his wife sitting on the couch to gauge her reaction. He knew she wouldn’t take it well. She knew what it meant for their family. Their sons would go to war – if not tomorrow, soon. Both Arnie and John had registered for the draft. Already, in anticipation that the United States would join in the conflict in Europe, the term of enlistment for draftees had been raised from twelve months to thirty months. Carl was right. Alice sat as if in a stupor, her slender body shaking.

Carl surveyed the room to see how his children took the news. Arnie – still at the university in Davis taking his classes – was missing. John, with his dark hair and eyes like his mother, sat slouched in his chair, his ankle crossed at the top of his opposite knee, his index finger tapping his lips. The jiggling of his foot gave away his
nervousness. Flo sat next to her mother, her head resting on Alice’s shoulder. Her eyes watered with tears threatening to be shed. But it was his youngest son, who looked the most like his younger self, who worried Carl the most.

Hugh took action first by jumping from his seat. He paced the floor, his fists clenched. He turned to his father, his yell revealing his anguished feelings. “Those dirty Japs! Those dirty, dirty Japs! How dare they come in and bomb our harbor like that. I mean, we didn’t do anything to them. Our ships and our people were just minding their own business and then those Japs send in all those planes and torpedoes and shoot the place up. Why? Because they want war? Well, you heard our president. They got war.”

Carl spoke calmly, hoping to settle Hugh down. “I know it’s bad, Hugh. I don’t know what brought things on, but yelling like this won’t help. It’s only upsetting your mother and sister. Please sit back down.”

“Yeah? Well, maybe they should be upset. Look at your own daughter, being friends with that Jap girl. She’s the enemy and now her people have bombed Pearl Harbor.”

Flo sat up straight, her mouth agape in shock at Hugh’s accusation. She quickly found her voice. “Hugh, that’s not fair. Ellen was born here. She’s an American, just like we are. She and her family have nothing to do with Japan going to war with us.”

“Doesn’t make any difference. They’re all Japs. You can tell by looking at them.


Stories of WWII: December 1941:


On December 7th 1941, a pivotal event took place that changed the face of World War II. Hundreds of Japanese fighter planes carried out a devastating surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. By December 11th, the United States was at
war with the Axis Powers in the Pacific and European theaters. World War II raged for almost another four years, but the entry of the world’s greatest economy into the conflict profoundly influenced its course.

This wide-ranging collection of eight stories by a diverse group of authors, who write wartime fiction, commemorates the 75th
anniversary of the Battle of Pearl Harbor. Few people’s lives were unaffected in some way by that fateful day and these stories reflect this. Some of them are set at Pearl Harbor itself, in other parts of the United States and in Singapore. Other stories take place in Europe: occupied France, Germany and Northern Ireland. They explore the experiences of U.S. servicemen and women, a German Jew, Japanese Americans, a French countess, an Ulster Home Guard, and many others.

We hope readers will enjoy our salute to the people and the events of this momentous era.

Available at the following online

 Amazon USA  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon DE  |  Amazon AU

Nook  |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  !Indigo  |  Books2Read

About Robyn Hobusch Echols:

Robyn currently lives with her husband in
California, USA, near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She is a member of Women Writing the West, and American Night Writers Association. She enjoys any kind
of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.
Robyn also write historical western romance under the pen name of Zina Abbott.

Connect with Robyn Hobusch Echols:
Website   |  Facebook   |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads   | 

My favorite historical resources

I recently gave a couple of classes on researching historical fiction, and even though I’ve posted about (read: “totally geeked out about”) some of these resources before, I wanted to put them all in one place (especially if I missed emailing them to anyone who wanted them!). So, here are some of the sources I use when researching historical fiction:

Secondary sources (written after the fact, by someone who was not there, often a historian): “Daily Life in…” type books for an overview of the time period, to get a big picture understanding to help put primary sources in context, and to mine the bibliography for other books with more specific details, like ghosts stories from rural Pennsylvania, food in Edo Japan, or early French heraldry. Interlibrary loan is your friend when looking for obscure secondary sources–for the cost of shipping the books via library mail (about $3.50 last time I used it), most public libraries in the U.S. will help you check out books from other libraries all over the country.

Primary sources (written by someone who was there–an eyewitness): Old diaries and letters, legal documents, newspapers, etc. Some of them are available for free through Kindle, Project Gutenberg, Google Books, etc., but there are also databases that will point you to primary sources online, such as:

Other cool, random history-related sites:

  • Google n-grams, where you can find out if an English word was used (in print) and how common it was in a given historical time period: https://books.google.com/ngrams
  • Online Etymology Dictionary, where you can find out what a word actually meant historically (it can change a lot!), and well as when it was in use: http://www.etymonline.com/
  • Historical maps: http://www.oldmapsonline.org
  • The Met museum’s searchable database of their amazing collection of historical objects, including weapons, jewelry, musical instruments, and clothing (The dresses! The beautiful, beautiful dresses!): http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection

That’s really just a start, but these are good places to begin. There are lots of web sites run by local history societies, re-enactors, and other authors/history buffs that are full of good information too, as long as you remember to read everything online with a skeptical eye. Happy researching!