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Extended Audio Sample Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family, by Lauren Kessler Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (502 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren Kessler Narrator: Christine Williams Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Stubborn Twig is the true story of immigrants making their way in a new land, a moving saga about the promise and perils of becoming an American.

Masuo Yasui arrived in America in 1903 with big dreams and empty pockets. He worked on the railroads, in a cannery, and as a houseboy before settling in Oregon to open a store, raise a large family, and become one of the area’s most successful orchardists. As Masuo broke the color barrier in the local business community, his American-born children did the same in school, scouts, and sports. But their lives changed forever following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when they were forced from their homes into vast inland camps. Although shamed and broken, the Yasui family would yet endure to claim their place as Americans.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lauren Kessler transports us to another era, accurately and vividly.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Remarkable…excels in its historical sweep and in Kessler’s flair for dramatic storytelling…an eye-opener.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Her research into each of her subject’s lives is diligent and she recounts the intimate tragedies, the determination, hard work, and family solidarity that characterized the Yasuis’ rise to affluence and success. Kessler has created a praiseworthy chronicle of the ‘process and meaning of becoming an American, of promise and prejudice in a new land.’”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Gives a clear picture of the Japanese American experience in one rural community. By personalizing the effects of racism, Kessler provides a valuable account that belongs in most Asian American history collections.”

    Library Journal

  • “This book puts human faces and emotions to the events of that period…Part sociological study, part American history, part family saga, this title will make a significant addition to any library.”

    School Library Journal 

  • “An important and moving document of one American family’s experience.” 


  • “A somber but illuminating reminder of the perniciousness of prejudice—and of the terrible toll it exacts.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Brittany | 2/18/2014

    " Wow, it took me almost two years to finish this book. But it's not because I didn't like it, it was OK, but because other books took precedent. It also didn't help that it reads like a textbook, so be prepared for that if you decide to read this book. Otherwise it was an interesting read overall. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Hilary | 2/15/2014

    " Tough, tough start to reading it. Its very text book reading and I have only read up to page 35. I'm not sure I'm going to make it any further along. I do know two people that have read the whole book and said it got much easier and interesting once you got past about the first 80 pages. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Lynne | 2/9/2014

    " Too often this was just a list of the accomplishments of the family. I really, really didn't care about the high school activities and awards of the second generation. I get that it was about the degree of assimilation prior to WWII, but it was just tedious to read. When the author describes the anti-Japanese feeling prior to the war, it was interesting and informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Paul Salop | 2/5/2014

    " really interesting history of a Japanese family who settled in Hood River area of OR. "

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About the Author

Lauren Kessler is the author of several works of narrative nonfiction, including the Washington Post bestseller Clever Girl and the Los Angeles Times bestseller The Happy Bottom Riding Club. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, O magazine, and The Nation. She directs the graduate program in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon.