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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


10 thoughts on “The Chinese in America A Narrative History

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    Reading this book breaks my heart As someone who was born in China and has spent the last four years in an American university I can truly appreciate the stories that Iris Chang was telling in this book Some of the stories happened in the distant past yet somehow they still feel so familiar the wounds so raw and the sufferings so personal What this book managed to construct is the complex and diverse history of a group of people who despite such complexity and diversity ultimately pursue the same dream to make a better life for themselves and for their families And the foreign land where they imagined their dreams would finally be fulfilled is also the same land where their dreams eventually get dashed at least for some of them at least for many of themThe Gold Rush The Transcontinental Railway The Chinese Exclusion Act The often bloody history of American Chinatowns The Model Minority Behind each and every one of them are names that I could not forget they are the names of pioneers heroes and victims they are the names of many people who came before me so that my own dream of making a better life will somehow become likely to come trueAnd then like any story in history there are always those whose names will never be recorded or remembered Nameless lives Nameless dreams Nameless deaths It is to these people that this book pays its ultimate tribute an ode to their lives a song to their dreams a psalm to their deaths which will never be in vain and which shall never be forgotten