Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Making of Asian America", a history

This certainly is a history book, newly published and written by Erika Lee, an accomplished professor at the University of Minnesota, whose specialty is immigration.  It is a timely book for those wanting to have a perspective on the U.S. immigration issue.

That is not why it was ordered here.  There are specific facts that were wanted.  This is a comprehensive book, ultimately college textbook, with over 80 pages of notes at the end.  It is well written, meaning that it flows well.  As a history book it will serve as a reference book here, and it would be a handsome addition to a bookcase if there were any space available.  Now there are stacks in most corners.  In all likelihood it would not have been purchased a few years ago before Amazon became such a bargain seller with such prompt service.

There were two primary areas were of interest.  First, K's parent's immigration in 1949 and second, K's mother's successful efforts to bring so many of her family members here after China reopened in 1979.  In this well organized book, it was easy to find.

As to K's parents, there was "a small group of 5,000 Chinese students who were stranded in the United States after the 1949 communist revolution in China."  They were two of the 5000.  At that time there were few if any legal opportunities to immigrate to the U.S. from China.  The year and reason for their inclusion was known here, but the number was not and the fact that there was little to no immigration from mainland China at that time.  Hong Kong and Taiwan, in limited numbers, were the source of Chinese immigrants.

Concerning the successful efforts to bring relatives to the U.S. in the 1980's, it was an especially propitious time.  President Reagan was not an opponent of immigration and longstanding Chinese residents that had been successful in their communities gave significant help, even some political clout.  In the dining room here there is a picture of K's mother standing with Jimmy Carter.  Her parents were not shy participants in the democratic process.

The $18 that was paid for this book was well worth the access to this information.  It can be passed down if books are still used in the future.


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