Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America

Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America

by Mary Paik Lee

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lee's indomitable spirit pervades this absorbing autobiography spanning much of the 20th century. Born in 1900, the author left Korea in 1905 with her family, as political refugees. Among the earliest Korean immigrants to America, they settled in California, where they faced a constant struggle for the bare necessities, living wherever Lee's father could find work, often as an agricultural laborer. In addition to economic adversity, Lee often encountered racism. Determined to attend high school, she endured lectures about ``stinking Chinks and dirty Japs.'' After the attack on Pearl Harbor, she had to stop three teenagers from striking her child. Even such unreasoned hatred could not break Lee who, from the perspective of the 1980s, sees in her children's successes the triumph of a century of cultural change. Chan, author of This Bittersweet Soil and a professor of history and Asian American studies at UC Santa Barbara, supplements the memoir with historical background. Her notes help make this brief, accessible volume a worthwhile addition to the scholarship on Asian American culture. Illustrations not seen by PW. ( May )
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
In this moving testament, Lee shares with her readers her feelings of growing up poor, Asian, and female. Her story begins in Pyongyang, Korea, as part of a Christian family in the well-to-do upper class. With the occupation of Korea by the Japanese in 1905, the social station and comfort of her family was threatened. Thus they immigrated to America so that one part of the Paik family line would be preserved. Chan's introduction provides a concise and comprehensive review that helps place the author's life history within its global context. Three appendixes shed light on her role as a historiographer in augmenting the text, historical verification, and editorial decisions; a detailed bibliographic essay adds a wealth of well-researched data. An excellent primary source, enhanced by Chan's scholarly additions, that will enrich a variety of subjects such as anthropology, women in history, psychology, and Asian studies. --Dolores M. Steinhauer, Jefferson Sci-Tech, Alexandria, VA

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Product Details

University of Washington Press
Publication date:
Samuel and Althea Stroum Bks.

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