Author Umemoto to Speak at Manzanar

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"Manzanar to Mount Whitney" author Hank Umemoto and his editor, novelist Naomi Hirahara. (Photo by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

“Manzanar to Mount Whitney” author Hank Umemoto and his editor, novelist Naomi Hirahara. (Photo by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

INDEPENDENCE — Hank Umemoto will discuss his book, “Manzanar to Mount Whitney: The Life and Times of a Lost Hiker,” on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 28-29, at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Manzanar National Historic Site, 5001 U.S. Hwy. 395, Independence.

Meet Manzanar volunteer Umemoto and hear stories as only he can tell them. He will be available both days to sign his book in the Manzanar History Association Bookstore.

In 1942, a 14-year-old boy gazed out a barrack window at Manzanar, saw the silhouette of Mount Whitney against an indigo sky, and vowed that one day he would climb to the top. Fifty-seven years and a lifetime of stories later, at the age of 71, Umemoto reached the summit. Part memoir and part hiker’s diary, “Manzanar to Mount Whitney” gives an intimate, rollicking account of Japanese American life California before and after World War II.

As he wanders through the mountains of California’s Inland Empire, Umemoto recalls pieces of his childhood on a grape vineyard in the Sacramento Valley, his time at Manzanar, where beauty and hope were maintained despite the odds, and his later career as proprietor of a printing firm, all with grace, honesty, and unfailing humor. And all along, the peak of Mount Whitney casts its shadow, a symbol of freedom, beauty, and resilience.

For more information, call (760) 878-2411 or visit www.manzanarstore.com.

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