“Judy Mundle was astounded when a Japanese American work colleague—rendered here as Janet Hayashi—confided that she had been a block manager at an American internment camp during World War II. In this poignant memoir, she reveals the shocking truth about life in the camps. . . .
“Engaging and informative, this book is an intimate glimpse of her
Japanese culture, delivering understanding regarding inmates’ mindsets, responses, and attitudes.
Hayashi’s emotionally charged narrative is disturbing in its harsh accounts of life in the shadow of the machine gun
towers. . . . Despite adversity, men are seen planting gardens; women, doing their best to create privacy and a sense of home; children being born, learning, and playing; and people, including Janet and the man who became her husband, falling in love. Their stories are a legacy and a warning for a troubled world.”
—Kristine Morris, Foreword Reviews, July/August 2019
"Throughout, Koizumi depended on what she calls gaman, which her account translates as 'patience with dignity.' As the war progressed and Allied victory seemed assured, she saw 'the conflicted emotions in the eyes of so many. After these long years, the Japanese had become dependent on the government for their room and board and management of their lives. For us, freedom meant challenges for basic survival in a world where we feared we would still be outcasts.' . . . Years later, after living in postwar Japan, Koizumi would also settle in the St. Louis area. Her husband died in 1993, but her son earned several college degrees and succeeded, thanks in large part to his mother’s gaman—and guts."
—Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Mundle guides us through a post-war landscape as apocalyptic—and enduring—as any dystopian film. Only it’s a true story which nearly cost Janet, her husband, and their young son their lives. The Block Manager is a book that will provoke both tears and laughs. You will walk away with a different conception of World War II, and how we treat our own citizens in wartime, than you had before opening the book. It is brilliant. It sticks with you. Bravo to Janet for sharing her story, and Judy Mundle for her ingenuity in presenting it.”
—Robert Yehling, Crawl of Fame, Just Add Water, and When We Were the Boys