Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms

Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms August Over Japanese soldiers attempt to break out of the No Prisoner of War compound on the fringes of Cowra In the carnage hundreds are killed many are recaptured and imprisoned a

  • Title: Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms
  • Author: Anita Heiss
  • ISBN: 9781925184846
  • Page: 423
  • Format: Paperback
  • 5 August, 1944 Over 1000 Japanese soldiers attempt to break out of the No 12 Prisoner of War compound on the fringes of Cowra In the carnage, hundreds are killed, many are recaptured and imprisoned, and some take their own lives rather than suffer the humiliation of ongoing defeat But one soldier, Hiroshi, determined to avoid either fate, manages to escape.At nearby Er5 August, 1944 Over 1000 Japanese soldiers attempt to break out of the No 12 Prisoner of War compound on the fringes of Cowra In the carnage, hundreds are killed, many are recaptured and imprisoned, and some take their own lives rather than suffer the humiliation of ongoing defeat But one soldier, Hiroshi, determined to avoid either fate, manages to escape.At nearby Erambie Aboriginal mission, Banjo Williams, father of nine and proud man of his community, discovers a distraught Hiroshi, pleading for help The people of Erambie have seen enough death and heartache, so Banjo and the Erambie community decide to offer Hiroshi refuge.Mary, Banjo s daughter, recently returned from being in service in Sydney, is intrigued by the Japanese stranger, and is charged with his care Love blossoms, but life for the community on the mission is one of restriction living under Acts of Protection and Assimilation, and always under the watchful eye of the mission manager In wartime Australia, the children are terrified of air raids, but their parents fear a life without rights And for Mary and Hiroshi, there is much in their way.Mary is forbidden under the Act, and by her own father, to marry Hiroshi, so together they plot their own escape from the mission But solidarity in the community is eroding and trouble is brewing.A story about a love that transcends all boundaries, from one of Australia s best loved authors

    One thought on “Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms”

    1. The period that BARBED WIRE AND CHERRY BLOSSOMS covers is the year between the Cowra breakout in 1944 and the end of WWII in 1945. I am surprised how few Australians have even heard of the breakout, our family visited the Japanese Gardens on the site a few years ago and it is so peaceful and beautiful that it is hard to imagine the events in this book taking place. But they did. During the story author Anita Heiss highlights the attitude of the Australian Government and, sadly, many Australian c [...]

    2. Nestled between the pages of a tender love story that plays out between Hiroshi , a Japanese soldier and Mary, a young indigenous woman, is the powerful exploration of a part of Australia’s World War II history. Anita Heiss, an accomplished Australian author, tackles love, war, racism and compassion in her stunning new novel, Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms.Heiss examines a slice of history that played out during World War II in New South Wales. A major breakout at a Prisoner of War compound o [...]

    3. Loving historical reads and the fact that Cowra is only a few hours from where I live, I have always had an interest in the Cowra Breakout and that time period. The love story of Mary & Hiroshi was slow and gradual and I just loved it. With Mary sneaking meals to Hiroshi who had escaped from the prison camp and was hiding in a bomb shelter, knowing that their love was probably doomed from the start didn't stop me from being in their corner! The time period has been well researched and I real [...]

    4. Presented empathetically and with much historical consideration (including importantly Heiss' own family recollection), Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms is what makes Anita Heiss brilliant.Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms explores the aftermath of the Cowra Breakout in 1944 during which over 1000 Japanese soldiers being held as prisoners of war plotted and carried out a prison break. Many perished, were recaptured, or in an act of pride took their own lives in the attempt, however one man, Hiroshi [...]

    5. I've seen Barbed Wires and Cherry Blossoms in the shops recently because of its gorgeous cover. To be honest though, while I've read Anita's previous contempory novels this one didn't really appeal to me. It wasn't until a friend lent it to me that I gave it ago. And I'm so glad I did because the story of Mary and Hirosho is unlike any love story I've every read. Set in Cowra 1944, it's also a lesson about the realities for the Indigenous Australians all those years ago and their role in both Wo [...]

    6. This won't be easy to review. At first glance it is just a historical romance. The setting is one that doesn't get written about enough, life in an Aboriginal mission. The protagonist is Mary, just 17 years old and surrounded by an extended network of family and neighbours. The love interest is an escaped Japanese POW.So a romance, a coming of age story, one of those clash of cultures talest quite! Because for a start Mary's family does not fit the trope. They don't misunderstand her. They don't [...]

    7. 4 starsBased on historical events that occurred near Cowra in NSW during the Second World War, Anita Heiss has woven a romantic story between Hiroshi, a Japanese prisoner of war and Mary, an aboriginal mission girl. Her choice of personalities enables her story to develop acceptably; Hiroshi a sensitive poet and student of English student before the war is able to communicate with his protectors, and Banjo Williams, Mary’s father is a considerate man who desires to carefully undermine the auth [...]

    8. I found the premise of the book a bit far fetched - one of the Japanese POWs who escaped during the Cowra break-out is hidden in a bomb shelter by a family of local aborigines, he is visited at night by the 17 year old Mary who brings food, water and news, they converse (he speaks English well) and they fall in love. But I think the book is not so much about the blossoming romance, but more about exposing how Aboriginals were treated during WWII, with confinement, restriction in employment and e [...]

    9. A slow, tender novel that focuses on events following the Cowra Breakout in NSW in 1944, Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms is about love, crossing boundaries, and home. Hiroshi and Mary’s story unfolds against the background of genuine fear and ignorance, racial fear-mongering and the White Australia policy, and resentment and bitterness. These were tough enough times for Hiroshi and Mary without cupid’s arrow entering the field.I had little knowledge of the Cowra breakout before this book, so [...]

    10. This was a really easy read, I think perhaps because I read so much dense non-fiction. Not my usual fare when it comes to fiction either (more sci-fi horror for me) but having read Anita Heiss's Am I Black Enough For You?, and hearing her talk at Avid Reader about this book, I really wanted to read it. I'm usually not that interested in romance but that was a part of this book that I ended up being interested in, simply because I wanted a happy ending. The bits that I was interested in were the [...]

    11. This was a fascinating insight into the plight of the indigenous Australian communities living on mission stations during World War 2. The story centres around the Cowra breakout of the Japanese POWs and what eventuates when the Aboriginal community harbour one of the Japanese soldiers. I learnt alot about not only the Aboriginals of that time but also what it meant to be a Japanese soldier, their sense of honour and duty to the Emperor. I did feel at times that the author had an agenda to push [...]

    12. Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms is a slow-moving, tender love story by Anita Heiss - Author. The story is set around the events of 5 August, 1944, when over 1000 Japanese soldiers (prisoners of war) escape from their compound near Cowra. It is a cataclysmic event - hundreds are killed or commit suicide rather than face recapture. One soldier - Hiroshi - finds his way to Erambie Station, an Aboriginal mission, and hides under the verandah of Banjo Williams. When he is discovered, Banjo and his fa [...]

    13. Book blurb…5 August, 1944: Over 1000 Japanese soldiers attempt to break out of the No. 12 Prisoner of War compound on the fringes of Cowra. In the carnage, hundreds are killed, many are recaptured and imprisoned, and some take their own lives rather than suffer the humiliation of ongoing defeat. But one soldier, Hiroshi, determined to avoid either fate, manages to escape.At nearby Erambie Aboriginal mission, Banjo Williams, father of nine and proud man of his community, discovers a distraught [...]

    14. This is a special book. As a historiographical novel it begins with Hiroshi's panicked escape from an Australian Prisoner of War camp as part of the infamous Cowra Breakout of 1944. As the hunt for Japanese escapees intensifies, Hiroshi finds refuge at Erambie Aboriginal Station. Mary, a young Wiradjuri woman, is given responsibility for sneaking meals into the air raid shelter where Hiroshi is being kept hidden. In Mary and Hiroshi's brief daily encounters they come to know and love one another [...]

    15. Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss is so beautifully written. Set on the outskirts of Cowra on nearby Erambie Station which is an Aboriginal Mission.Banjo Williams discovers Hiroshi, a Japanese soldier distraught and on the run. Banjo takes Hiroshi in offering him refuge on his land sheltering from harm and hiding him on his property.Mary, Banjo's daughter is set the task of delivering food to the stranger in secret darkness only to find she is intrigued by the softly spoken stranger [...]

    16. Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms was such a meaningful novel, clearly depicting certain race and cultural relations within Australia during the WWII era, against the backdrop of a gentle love story. Anita Heiss has done a marvelous job with this novel. There are a lot of challenges posed to the reader and many uncomfortable truths, but her style of writing is entirely non confronting and culturally informative. I learnt a lot from this novel, far more than I did from any Australian history lesso [...]

    17. Anita Heiss expertly crafts a deeply touching love story of an escaped prisoner of war, Hiroshi, with a young Aboriginal woman, Mary. Set in the closing days of the Second World War and in the aftermath of the Cowra breakout, this book exposes the tightly-held and deeply divisive and racist views that Australia has been built on and enshrined in the various Acts of Protection and White Australia Policies. What I love about Anita's writing is that it doesn't tip-toe around these issues, but at th [...]

    18. This story focuses on events following the Cowra Breakout in NSW in 1944 where over 1000 Japanese soldiers attempted to escape a Prisoner of War compound. Hundreds are killed, many are recaptured and imprisoned, and some take their own lives rather than suffer the humiliation of ongoing defeat. But one soldier, Hiroshi, determined to avoid either fate, manages to escape.He finds refuge at nearby Erambie Aboriginal mission, and love with a woman of the Erambie community. The White Australia polic [...]

    19. An eye opening look into a side of Australian history not often told, and left out of the history books that I had in high school. The relations between the different races showed how government policies affected how people saw the world around them. It allowed for a different narrative to be told that needs to be told, and certainly showed that anyone during this time could be affected by the policies - that even if they wanted to say something against the norm, maybe they felt that they couldn [...]

    20. Anita Heiss PhD is a versatile and prolific author: she is well-known as an author of non-fiction and social commentary, commercial women’s fiction (which she calls choc-lit), YA, children’s books, and poetry. She was co-editor with Peter Minter of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature (2008) (see my review) and with the late Rosie Scott also co-edited The Intervention, an Anthology (2015) (see my review). I have also read and reviewed her splendid Am I Black Enough for You (2 [...]

    21. I have just finished. Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss. It is a historical novel, a war tale, and a love story. Most people have probably heard of the breakout by Japanese Prisoners of War from the interment camp at Cowra, in 1944. Hiroshi, is one of the Japanese Prisoners who takes refuge at the Aborigine Erambie Station. He is helped and hidden by Banjo Williams and family. His daughter Mary, and Hiroshi fall in love. It is a simple story until you understand the political and hi [...]

    22. Loved this book.Anita Heiss, a Wiradjuri woman, has gone back to country for this romantic story which touches on some of the prejudices of Australian society.Set at the end of WW2 an unlikely meeting of two people - Hiroshi, a Japanese soldier and Mary, a young Indigenous woman, takes place near an internment camp at Cowra when the Japanese prisons of war escaped. A gentle romance begins. I love the way the author has used this story to interweave universal values - love, compassion, care with [...]

    23. Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms is set in Cowra, during WWII, when the Japanese soldiers broke out of the prison camp. One Japanese soldier makes it to the Aboriginal mission, is hidden there and falls in love with a local girl. The book sets out to teach us about our history, how appalling conditions for Aboriginal people were in the 1940s, and what society was like. These are important things to tell, but I think the story suffered because of a focus on education. I still enjoyed it, and was r [...]

    24. Beautiful cover to match a beautiful story. Being familiar with Cowra and the the breakout I was interested to read a fictionalised story of this important event in Australia's history. What makes this even more special is that it shares the history of those from Erambie and has an Aboriginal girl as the main protagonist and love interest. Well written and an easy read. Thank you for writing a story like this.

    25. An enlightening story set in Australia during WW2 about an Indigenous Family who protected a Japanese prisoner of war who escaped detention during the Cowra Breakout. As Mary, the daughter of the family fell in love with Hiroshi, the escapee, their cultural and Family histories became apparent. The lack of freedom of the prisoner of war was compared with Mary’s family who lacked basic freedoms under the government of Australia at this time.

    26. 3.5* I enjoyed this novel, I found it hard to rate, it wasn't quite a 4 but better than a 3. I really enjoyed learning more about Aboriginal history, the way they were treated was deplorable, and these days sometimes it's not much better. I enjoyed the historical aspect of the whole story along with the romance. I definitely recommend reading this, if only to learn from it.

    27. A lovely interpretation of history which illustrates the conditions of Aboriginal missions in mid-century Australia.Easy read with lots of detail.

    28. I think this book reads as if it were written for children or a young adult audience. I found the tone quite patronizing.

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