Describes the experiences of Chinese immigrants who took part in the California Gold Rush and the building of the transcontinental railroad
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Grade 5-10-This second volume in a series of adaptations of the author's adult title, Strangers from a Different Shore (Viking, 1990), describes the experiences of 19th-century Chinese immigrants. Takaki recounts how the first arrivals, lured by gold, were tentatively welcomed and admired for their industriousness. Subsequent chapters document the contributions of later immigrants and show how admiration turned to fear and prejudice. The book ends with accounts of the lives of the few women allowed to enter America at the time and communities of Chinese men living in enforced bachelorhood. As in Spacious Dreams (Chelsea, 1994), the clear, readable prose is enhanced by engaging, germane black-and-white photographs. There are no sources for the intriguing quotes, but a list of relevant adult titles is included. With its greater historical depth, Journey to the Gold Mountain complements Meltzer's The Chinese Americans (Crowell, 1980) and Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler's Chinese American Family Album (Oxford, 1994). Libraries needing material on Chinese Americans or on the immigrant experience in general could use all three.
Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Chinese immigrants found only racist reactions from Americans of European descent; according to this informative account, the resulting restrictive legislation created an insular ``bachelor society'' by the end of the 19th century. Concentrating on the achievements of Chinese workers, Takaki goes beyond the frequently described building of the transcontinental railroad to cover Chinese contributions to agriculture, the development of the laundry industry, and industrial work in Massachusetts. Always quite sympathetic to the Chinese, he also explains European-American hostility--industrial bosses and farm owners alike used the hard-working, non-striking Chinese as strikebreakers to beat down the American labor movement. Enlivened with many contemporary quotes and illustrations, an accessible and workmanlike history, though not as visually exciting or as comprehensive as the Hooblers' book (above). Chronology; bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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