"The definitive history of Asian Americans by one of the nation's preeminent scholars on the subject. In the past fifty years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States. But as award-winning historian Erika Lee reminds us, Asian Americans also have deep roots in the country. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day. An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States: sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s; indentured "coolies" who worked alongside African slaves in the Caribbean; and Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination, Asian exclusion laws, and for Japanese Americans, incarceration during World War II. Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a "despised minority," Asian Americans are now held up as America's "model minorities" in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States. Published to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the United States' Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that has remade our "nation of immigrants," this is a new and definitive history of Asian Americans. But more than that, it is a new way of understanding America itself, its complicated histories of race and immigration, and its place in the world today"--
The big thing I took away from this was that history repeats itself, and the way migrants and Syrian refugees are viewed now is reminiscent of sentiments against Hmong and Vietnamese immigrants 30 years ago, sentiments against the Japanese 70 years ago, the Know-Nothing movement in the 1880s, etc. Are we doomed to repeat history yet again, or can we learn from previous mistakes? Time will tell.
The Making of Asian America is a big scholarly book commendable for its detail and its depth of research. Think the first
When the British in the Caribbean "freed" their Black workers they turned around and imported Chinese "indentured servants" in their place.
Though the "indentured" had some rights they were cruelly treated and lies to and abused.
There are details here of the internment camps during World War II that will tear at your heart. The book makes it clear that the treatment of American born Japanese was based much more on politics than on any danger they might have posed to national security.
It's a scholarly book with some dry stretches, interspersed with stories that excite and fascinate. One of the very first ships sent out from the newborn United States of America was the "Empress of China" sent around the horn to buy tea for American tables to bypass the (former) British monopoly.
(Gee where did you think the tea came from anyway?)
I got a lot out of it. History is always about then - and its always about now.