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TEA THAT BURNS by Bruce Edward Hall

TEA THAT BURNS

A Family Memoir of Chinatown

By Bruce Edward Hall

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-83989-X
Publisher: Free Press

The history of New York’s Chinatown as told through the author’s personal history. Hall (Diamond Street, not reviewed) is the son of a second-generation Chinese American and a Yankee of Scottish descent. In his introduction, he writes, “I guess I’m searching for continuity,” and thus begins a backwards journey to discover his “roots.” The book, however, is not strictly a family memoir, but a history of the genesis and rapid growth of Manhattan’s Chinatown with the stories of the author’s predecessors woven into it. Hall conscientiously brings up the racism that Chinese immigrants faced in the late 19th century, culminating in the Exclusion Act of 1882. He also writes vividly of the way the Chinese were perceived by Americans (and vice versa), as well as about a particular hardship faced by the first wave of Chinese immigrants--the lack of Chinese women (he discusses the comlicated unions between Chinese men and white women). The book is at its best when he delves into the e