by Peter Kwong
New Press. revised 2001, 240 pp.
"First published in 1979, Chinatown, N.Y. is the groundbreaking and engrossing history of the rise and fall of labor movements in one of America's most storied urban communities. Now with an expansive new introduction and epilogue bringing the story of New York's Chinatown up to the present day, Chinatown, N.Y. is both an illuminating history of Chinese labor and a provocative critique of the response of the U.S. left and the union movement to immigrant workers."
by Mary Ting Yi Lui
Princeton University Press. 2007, 320 pp.
"In the summer of 1909, the gruesome murder of nineteen-year-old Elsie Sigel sent shock waves through New York City and the nation at large. The young woman's strangled corpse was discovered inside a trunk in the midtown Manhattan apartment of her reputed former Sunday school student and lover, a Chinese man named Leon Ling. Through the lens of this unsolved murder, Mary Ting Yi Lui offers a fascinating snapshot of social and sexual relations between Chinese and non-Chinese populations in turn-of-the-century New York City. Sigel's murder was more than a notorious crime, Lui contends. It was a clear signal that attempts to maintain geographical and social boundaries between the city's Chinese male and white female populations had failed." - book description
by Sucheng Chan
Gale Group. 1991, 240 pp.
"The experiences of early Asian immigrants are examined through their domestic situations, the lives of women who were struggling to cope without the support of their families in their homeland, and the social organizations that became central to their being. These organizations met the new arrivals at the ship, arranged jobs, established credit, helped to arrange marriages, and even buried them if they died in this country. The final chapter looks at the current status of Asian-Americans and explores their contribution to American life through film, writing, and other areas. Anyone wishing to do research would do well to get their hands on this book. The density of detail on people from Asia is enormous, and the currency is taken into the '90s with reports on court decisions that have occurred within the last year. Included is a list of films about Asian-Americans." --library school journal -- Barbara Weathers, Duchesne Academy, Houston, TX.
by Erika Lee
University of North Carolina Press. 2003, 352 pp.
...At America's Gates is the first book devoted entirely to both Chinese immigrants and the American immigration officials who sought to keep them out. Erika Lee explores how Chinese exclusion laws not only transformed Chinese American lives, immigration patterns, identities, and families but also recast the United States into a "gatekeeping nation." Immigrant identification, border enforcement, surveillance, and deportation policies were extended far beyond any controls that had existed in the United States before. Drawing on a rich trove of historical sources--including recently released immigration records, oral histories, interviews, and letters--Lee brings alive the forgotten journeys, secrets, hardships, and triumphs of Chinese immigrants.. ---book info
by Min Zhou, Alejandro Portes
Temple University Press. reissue 1995.
"Min Zhou examines how an ethnic enclave works to direct its members into American society, while at the same time shielding them from it. Focusing specifically on New York's Chinatown, a community established more than a century ago, Zhou offers a thorough and modern treatment of the enclave as a socioeconomic system, distinct form, but intrinsically linked with, the larger society. Zhou's central theme is that Chinatown does not keep immigrant Chinese from assimilating into mainstream society, but instead provides an alternative means of incorporation into society that does not conflict with cultural distinctiveness." -publisher
by Ko-Lin Chin
Oxford University Press. 2000, 256 pp.
Ko-lin Chin penetrates a closed society, presenting a rare portrait of the underworld of New York City's Chinatown. Based on first-hand accounts from gang members, gang victims, community leaders, and law enforcement authorities, this pioneering study reveals the pervasiveness, the muscle, the longevity of Chinatown gangs. ... Ko-lin Chin makes clear that gang crime is inextricably linked to Chinatown's political economy and social history. .... Chinatown Gangs closes with Chin's specific policy suggestions for restraining gang violence.. ---book info
by Asian Arts Initiative, Rodney Atienza (photo)
New City Press. 2004, 80 pp.
Twenty-two oral histories with workers and residents of Philadelphia's Chinatown accompanied by three essays framing the interviews in a social/political context. ---book info
by Peter Kwong, and Dusanka Miscevic
Hugh Lauter Levin. 2000, 240 pp.
...A powerful historical text about the Chinese experience in America--from the earliest immigrants through the present day--with close to 200 extraordinary images carefully selected to provide new perspective. ... [it] presents an honest, humanizing perspective, celebrating Chinese Americans in all their diversity, while also placing their hard-won triumph within a historical framework that acknowledges the particularly difficult and painful experiences they encountered in trying to make America their home. ---book info
by Iris Chang
Penguin Books. reprint 2003, 512 pp.
"In an epic story that spans 150 years and continues to the present day, Iris Chang tells of a people’s search for a better life—the determination of the Chinese to forge an identity and a destiny in a strange land and, often against great obstacles, to find success. She chronicles the many accomplishments in America of Chinese immigrants and their descendents: building the infrastructure of their adopted country, fighting racist and exclusionary laws, walking the racial tightrope between black and white, contributing to major scientific and technological advances, expanding the literary canon, and influencing the way we think about racial and ethnic groups. Interweaving political, social, economic, and cultural history, as well as the stories of individuals, Chang offers a bracing view not only of what it means to be Chinese American, but also of what it is to be American." --info from publisher
by Paul C. P. Siu, John Kuo Wei Tchen (Editor), Daniel J. Walkowitz (Designer)
New York University Press. 1998, 360 pp.
"A landmark study long discussed but rarely seen, The Chinese Laundryman is a classic example of the sociohistorical researches conducted by University of Chicago sociologists in the second quarter of this century. Most of the book is Siu's long unpublished doctoral dissertation in which, among other things, he was the first to document and explain the sense of isolation felt by the ``sojourners'' who made the word laundryman the most common noun to follow the adjective Chinese in the American vernacular. Siu's carefully detailed and surprisingly contemporary analysis outlines his methodology (a combination of participant observations, life histories, and in-depth interviews). He also examines the truths and myths surrounding the Chinese enclaves and their most characteristic industry, and introduces numerous actors whose stories defied many of the stereotypes held at the time of his investigation-and sometimes still voiced today..." Choice, P.I. Rose, Smith College.
by Nayan Shah
University of California Press. 2001, 384 pp.
"Nayan Shah's book is a nuanced, lucidly written and well-researched account of the public health assimilation of Asians, above all Chinese, in the Bay Area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Shah documents the way in which the Chinese went from being regarded as dangerous outsiders in epidemiological and sexual terms to the position they hold today as consummate members of the mainstream. ... " ---Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002. v288, p103.
by Peter Kwong
New Press. 1999, 273 pp.
"Kwang, well known on television for his work on Chinese immigrants, traces the experience of immigrants from their homes in China to the basements and sweatshops of Chinatowns across the US, exploring why they choose to indebt themselves to a smuggler and whether they can really expect a better life. He also looks at their impact on the US economy, and argues that illegal immigration is not a matter of territorial integrity, but a labor issue that government must address by enforcing labor laws and organized labor by reaching out to the growing workforce." --Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
by Kenneth J. Guest
New York University Press. 2003, 225 pp.
"...Since the 1980s, tens of thousands of mostly rural Chinese have migrated from Fuzhou, on China's southeastern coast, to New York's Chinatown. Like the Cantonese who comprised the previous wave of migrants, the Fuzhou have brought with them their religious beliefs, practices, and local deities. In recent years these immigrants have established numerous specifically Fuzhounese religious communities, ranging from Buddhist, Daoist, and Chinese popular religion to Protestant and Catholic Christianity. This ethnographic study examines the central role of these religious communities in the immigrant incorporation process in Chinatown's highly stratified ethnic enclave, as well as the transnational networks established between religious communities in New York and China. The author's knowledge of Chinese coupled with his extensive fieldwork in both China and New York enable him to illuminate how these networks transmit religious and social dynamics to the United States, as well as how these new American institutions influence religious and social relations in the religious revival sweeping southeastern China. ..." --info from publisher
by Xiaolan Bao, Roger Daniels
Univ of Illinois Press, 2001. 400 pp.
"In 1982, twenty thousand Chinese-American garment workers–mostly women--went on strike in New York's Chinatown and forced every Chinese garment industry employer in the city to sign a union contract. In this pioneering study, Xiaolan Bao penetrates to the heart of Chinese-American society to explain how this militancy and organized protest, seemingly so at odds with traditional Chinese female behavior, came about... Bao offers a complex and subtle discussion of the interplay of ethnic and class factors within the garment industry in New York City ...Through the words of the women workers themselves, Bao shows how their changing positions within their families and within the workplace galvanized them to unite and stand up for themselves." -publisher
by James W. Loewen
Waveland Press. 1988, 2nd ed. 240 pp.
"This scholarly, carefully researched book studies one of the most overlooked minority groups in America--the Chinese of the Mississippi Delta. During Reconstruction, white plantation owners imported Chinese sharecroppers in the hope of replacing their black laborers. In the beginning they were classed with blacks. But the Chinese soon moved into the towns and became, almost without exception, owners of small groceries. Loewen details their astounding transition from "black" to essentially white status with an insight seldom found in studies of race relationships in the Deep South." --from publisher.
by Peter Kwong
Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1996, 210 pp.
"Newspapers today are filled with stories of corruption and strife in America's Chinatowns, reversing the popular view of Chinese Americans as a model minority of law-abiding, hard-working people whose diligent children end up in high-tech jobs. In The New Chinatown, Peter Kwong goes beyond the headlines in a compelling and detailed account of the political and cultural isolation of Chinese-American communities. This new edition offers a revised and updated text as well as a new chapter on Chinatown in the 1990s."
by John Kuo Wei Tchen
Johns Hopkins University Press. 2001, 416 pp.
"Tchen describes how Americans have shaped perceptions of themselves by looking at others, most notably people of other races or "exotic" cultures. Focusing on New York rather than San Francisco, Tchen illuminates perceptions Americans held about the Chinese long before there were significant numbers of Chinese residents and shows how these perceptions colored expectations when the Chinese arrived in the mid-19th century... "J. Kleiman; University of Wisconsin Colleges
by James C. Mohr
Oxford University Press. 2004, 235 pp.
"For the diverse citizens of Honolulu, the 20th century began with two catastrophic events: first, there was an outbreak of bubonic plague, and second, the efforts to contain the disease resulted in a conflagration that destroyed the city's Chinatown. ... The fight against the disease fell to three physicians who were granted absolute authority by the government to take whatever measures they deemed necessary. How that authority was exercised, within complicated political currents that included racial prejudice, ethnic politics, a dearth of scientific knowledge, commercial interests and political ambitions, forms the center of the book. Mohr charts these events with precision. He also illuminates the issues that arise when civil rights and public safety clash." -- Publishers Weekly
by Jan Lin
University of Minnesota Press. 1998, 264 pp.
"In the American popular imagination, Chinatown is a mysterious and dangerous place, clannish and dilapidated, filled with sweatshops, vice, and organized crime. In this well-written and engaging volume, Jan Lin presents a real-world picture of New York City's Chinatown, countering this "orientalist" view by looking at the human dimensions and the larger forces of globalization that make this vital neighborhood both unique and broadly instructive. ...Rather than a clannish and unified peer group, he sees substantial class inequality and internal social conflict. There is also social change, most visibly manifested in dramatic episodes of collective action by sweatshop workers and community activists and in the growing influence of Chinatown's denizens in electoral politics" -publisher.
by Ko-Lin Chin, Douglas S. Massey
Oxford University Press. 2000, 256 pp.
"For his study, Chin (criminal justice, Rutgers) interviewed 300 illegal immigrants, most of whom live in New York's Chinatown, as well as smugglers of humans ("snakeheads") in various countries. He discusses the immigrants' reasons for leaving China (overwhelmingly for money), their methods, and their lives in the United States. Quoting liberally from the immigrants' statements, Chin creates a poignant picture of the great hardships immigrants have endured in order to pay off debts and send money home to their families. Despite their numbers, he notes, these immigrants have little impact on U.S. social systems or unemployment since they rarely use the medical facilities or schools and usually work in Chinese restaurants and Chinese garment factories. Nevertheless, Chin discusses various government plans to curb illegal immigration, surmising that, in the end, it is almost impossible to stop. Recommended for public and academic libraries." ---Library Journal, Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau College
by Jianli Zhao
Routledge. 2002, 254 pp.
cultural study based largely on interviews of immigrants from China, and southeast Asian countries. The study takes a look at their lives, and their adjustment to life in Atlanta. ---book info
by Xinyang Wang
Rowman & Littlefield. 2001, 176 pp.
"...While aware of the influence of cultural heritage and the discrimination against the Chinese, Wang does not believe that they have much explanatory value. Instead, by viewing immigrants as rational actors making conscious decisions, the author offers persuasive arguments as to why the Chinese engaged in sojourning from the 1850s to the 1940s, and why they decided to remain after the 1950s. He also notes that the contrasting ethnic economies of the Italians and the Chinese determined residential patterns, receptivity to union membership, and whether kin and regional ties declined or not. Tightly reasoned and stimulating to read, Wang's important book is accessible to general audiences and all academic levels." Choice -- F. Ng California State University, Fresno.
by Marie Rose Wong
University of Washington Press. 2004, 337 pp.
"Marie Rose Wong chronicles the history of Portland's Chinatowns from their early beginnings in the 1850s until the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1940s, drawing on exhaustive primary material from the National Archives, including more than six thousand individual immigration files, census manuscripts, letters, and newspaper accounts.... Sweet Cakes, Long Journey explores the contributions that Oregon's leaders and laws had on the development of Chinese American community life, and the role that the early Chinese immigrants played in determining their own community destiny and the development of their Chinatown in its urban form and vernacular architectural expression." ---info from publisher
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