PASSAGE TO THE GOLDEN GATE: A History of the Chinese in America to 1910 by Daniel & Samuel Chu

PASSAGE TO THE GOLDEN GATE: A History of the Chinese in America to 1910

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1840 there were eight Chinese recorded in the United States; thirty years later the figure stood at 107,000; by 1920 it had dropped to 61,000; the reasons for the massive increase and subsequent decline illumine a unique and little-known episode in American history. The account is brief and might have been briefer: the gold rush; the development of the ""coolie"" trade (""he went to a new country to save the old way of life at home""); restricted opportunities in mining, more in ""woman's work"" (laundering, sewing, household service) and other fields; construction of the transcontinental railroad (at least a quarter of the book with much extraneous background); the brief period of good-will in California succeeded by fear of competition for jobs and increasing discrimination; ban on further immigration (none legally from 1882 to 1943); life within the San Francisco Chinese community (self-containment, rivalry vs. regulation, tong warfare, the fire and earthquake as turning point). Fleshing out the facts is the carefully explained existence of the Chinese as sojourners in America, rootless and plagued by the problems of incongruent isolation. This will be useful for information, even more so for interpretation.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1967
Publisher: Doubleday