The Eyes of the Enemy

By Robert Black


Class sets 10 or more print books: $10.00 each
Order code: 3239S

It is 1944, and the United States is embroiled in World War II. Back in Nebraska, Kathy has been having unusual dreams about her brother Danny, a Marine fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. But Kathy isn’t just dreaming about Danny; she is there with him, witnessing what happens to him. As she works through the trauma of her experiences, Kathy learns some important lessons about war, loss, tolerance, and humanity.


It is 1944, and the war between the United States and Japan rages across the Pacific. Back in Nebraska, Kathy Syverson has been having dreams that are so unusual and disturbing that they have left her shell-shocked—literally. She’s been dreaming about her brother Danny, a Marine fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. But Kathy isn’t just dreaming about Danny; she is there with him, witnessing what happens to him, including the horrors of war that he must endure.

She is accompanied at times by two Okinawan children. Repelled by their status as the enemy, Kathy’s animosity toward them begins to crumble as she watches them struggle to survive in a land shattered by war. But how can she feel sympathy for them if their countrymen are trying to kill her brother?

As Kathy experiences increasingly violent battles alongside Danny, she finds herself bringing her traumas into the real world. Pete Thompson came home with one arm and haunted eyes, and it isn’t long before Kathy understands why he’s so different from the laughing young man she used to know. War changes everyone who encounters it: the people fighting, the civilians in the battle zones, the soldiers who come home, and the people who are left behind when soldiers don’t come home. But Kathy learns some important lessons about war and loss, tolerance and humanity, and it is these lessons that she will carry with her after the war is finally over.

Author Robert Black writes: “In August of 1945, the Second World War ended with the dropping of the second atomic bomb on mainland Japan. The Battle of Okinawa two months before that was the last major engagement. At that point in the war, the Japanese strategy was to make the American advance so bloody and so costly that they’d choose to negotiate peace rather than conquer the Japanese Home Islands. What made the battle especially horrible was the large number of civilian casualties. It’s estimated that 142,000 people—one-third of the civilian population—were killed. Many were victims of collateral damage, and others committed suicide, too ashamed of their defeat or frightened by Japanese propaganda that portrayed Americans as savage brutes.

“Those civilians were the ones that drew me to the battle and led me to think that there might be a story there. I was especially interested in the stories of children who were caught in the conflict. Perhaps the best known of these are the accounts of the Himeyuri students and other Okinawan high school girls who were pressed into service as battlefield nurses.

“I found the story of a young girl who was given a makeshift white flag by the elderly couple sheltering her and told to go to the Americans. By the time she made it, she was being followed by an entire line of surrendering Japanese soldiers. If there was to be a book for me to write about Okinawa, it would involve characters like these children because I believed that my readers could relate to them.”


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“Very highly recommended…quite special and unique approach to storytelling.” – Midwest Book Review

An original, deftly crafted, inherently absorbing, and thoroughly entertaining read for children ages 11 to 15, The Eyes of the Enemy by Robert Black is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library historical fiction collections for young readers.” – Children’s Bookwatch