CHINATOWN, U.S.A. by Calvin Lee


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This is a survey of present Chinese culture in the States and how it got that way. The opening chapters covering the importation of Chinese labor for building the railroads are the least impressive research in the book. Originally, the Chinese came here to earn money to send home, and planned to return to China themselves. For over a decade Chinese women were scarce as dragon's teeth, while Chinese men --once the railroads were built--turned to shopkeeping and running laundries and restaurants. Labor laws discriminated against them. And first generation Chinese, to keep their traditions viable, banded together into communities. As more women arrived and the second generation began, American-born Chinese found themselves hung up with half an education. The present, third generation looks down on its elders who try to retain the old ways; very few Chinese youngsters today speak the language. The survey covers Chinese religious beliefs and holidays. Its greatest value is as a guidebook to U.S. Chinatowns East and West, and its most substantial, richest chapter is on foodstuffs and cooking.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1965
Publisher: Doubleday