Peace Is a Chain Reaction: How World War II Japanese Balloon Bombs Brought People of Two Nations Together

Peace Is a Chain Reaction: How World War II Japanese Balloon Bombs Brought People of Two Nations Together
Age Range
Release Date
September 13, 2022
Buy This Book
Adults wage war, while children are unwitting victims, pulled into a maelstrom of fear and hate without any choice. This is a story about two groups of teenagers on opposite sides of the world, forever connected by an act of war. It is a story about the adults some of those teens became, forever connected by acts of forgiveness, understanding, and peace. And it is a story about one remarkable man, whose heart belonged both to America and Japan, who put that peace and understanding in motion. Panning the camera wide, Tanya Lee Stone lays the global groundwork for the story’s context before zooming in on the lives of the people involved, providing an intimate look at how their changing perspectives impact their actions. Through meticulous research, interviews, and archival photo curation, Stone skillfully weaves all of these stories together, illuminating how, despite the devastating pain and destruction caused by war, peace can be a chain reaction. Extensive back matter includes an author’s note, source notes, bibliography, and index.

Editor review

1 review
Threads of History Woven Together
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
It is rare that I find a nonfiction book that goes so perfectly with a fiction book that I've read, but this new title by nonfiction master Stone is essential reading for fans of Shirley Reva Vernick's The Sky We Shared. Both center on the only deaths to occur on the US mainland during World War II. Six people were killed in Bly, Oregon in May of 1945. An incendiary bomb, sent by Japan, dropped into the woods where Elise and Archie Mitchell had taken a group on a church picnic. Only Mr. Mitchell survived.

Like Vernick's fiction book, this nonfiction title covers both the Japanese girls who built the bomb as well as the US citizens who died, but adds a wealth of technical information about what was going on with the war, and how the bombs were built. It also tells the story of Japanese incarceration in the US, centering on the Takeshita family, which included Yuzuru and Ben. While this book is only 150 pages, I was amazed at the amount of details about so many aspects of World War II that were included. It's a great overview of the treatment of Japanese Americans, the Japanese war effort, and the deaths of civilians in Oregon.
Good Points
What sets this apart is that the stories are all woven together into a tapesty that shows how many of the people involved in these events tried to work together years after the events to work together for peace. Some of the women who had built the bombs later regretted their actions, although they didn't have much choice in the matter, and reached out to the people of Bly. Yuzuru Takeshita was also involved with efforts to connect people.

There are so many fascinating stories that occurred during World War II, and many of them will never be told. I'm glad to see this glimpse into history, which is a great accompaniment to other books, especially ones that highlight the role of women like Ure's Seized by the Sun: The Life and Disappearance of World War II Pilot Gertrude Tompkins, Farrell's Pure Grit:How WWII Nurses in the Pacific Survived Combat and Prison Camp and Standing Up Against Hate: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII, and Stelson's Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account

Latest Additions