A “comprehensive...fascinating” (The New York Times Book Review) history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, by one of the nation’s preeminent scholars on the subject, with a new afterword about the recent hate crimes against Asian Americans.
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 much of their long history has been forgotten. “In her sweeping, powerful new book, Erika Lee considers the rich, complicated, and sometimes invisible histories of Asians in the United States” (Huffington Post).
The Making of Asian America shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life, from sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500 to the Japanese Americans incarcerated 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. But as Lee shows, Asian Americans have continued to struggle as both “despised minorities” and “model minorities,” revealing all the ways that racism has persisted in their lives and in the life of the country.
Published fifty years after the passage of the United States’ Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, these “powerful Asian American stories...are inspiring, and Lee herself does them justice in a book that is long overdue” (Los Angeles Times). But more than that, The Making of Asian America is an “epic and eye-opening” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) new way of understanding America itself, its complicated histories of race and immigration, and its place in the world today.
Erika Lee is the granddaughter of Chinese immigrants who entered the United States through both Angel Island and Ellis Island. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches history at the University of Minnesota, where she is also the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center. She is the author of The Making of Asian America, Angel Island (with Judy Yung), and At America’s Gates.
Read an Excerpt
The Making of Asian America
1. “Americae Sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio.” This map of the Americas, prominently featuring Manila galleons sailing across the Pacific from Manila to Acapulco, was included in what is considered to be the first world atlas, by Abraham Ortelius, initially printed in 1570.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Beginnings: Asians in the Americas
1 Los Chinos in New Spain and Asians in Early America 15
2 Coolies 34
Part 2 The Making of Asian America During the Age of Mass Migration and Asian Exclusion
3 Chinese Immigrants in Search of Gold Mountain 59
4 "The Chinese Must Go!": The Anti-Chinese Movement 89
5 Japanese Immigrants and the "Yellow Peril" 109
6 "We Must Struggle in Exile": Korean Immigrants 137
7 South Asian Immigrants and the "Hindu Invasion" 151
8 "We Have Heard Much of America": Filipinos in the US. Empire 174
9 Border Crossings and Border Enforcement: Undocumented Asian Immigration 191
Part 3 Asian America in a World at War
10 "Military Necessity": The Uprooting of Japanese Americans During World War II 211
11 "Grave Injustices": The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II 229
12 Good War, Cold War 252
Part 4 Remaking Asian America in a Globalized World
13 Making a New Asian America Through Immigration and Activism 283
14 In Search of Refuge: Southeast Asians in the United States 314
15 Making a New Home: Hmong Refugees and Hmong Americans 334
16 Transnational Immigrants and Global Americans 357
Part 5 Twenty-first-Century Asian Americans
17 The "Rise of Asian Americans"? Myths and Realities 373
Epilogue: Redefining America in the Twenty-first Century 391