FROM EXILES TO IMMIGRANTS: The Refugees from Southeast Asia by Ronald Takaki

FROM EXILES TO IMMIGRANTS: The Refugees from Southeast Asia

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Unlike many other immigrant groups, southeast Asians have come to the US as refugees, surviving invasions, mass murder, dangerous journeys, bloodthirsty pirates, squalid camps--not to mention sudden separation from loved ones and loss of possessions. Enriching his narrative with quotes, brief comments, and poetry from dozens of interviews and published accounts, Takaki describes, in sometimes horrific detail, the harsh treatment these people fled and then often encountered again in their passages. As he shows, many are haunted by their experiences, and struggling to preserve their cultures and values in a strange new land. As with other volumes in the Asian American Experience series, this is an extract from Takaki's monumental Strangers From A Different Shore (1989), with new material added. It's a rough cut: Except for a visit with a Hmong who entered medical school in 1991, the interviews don't have dates, and few of the subjects were photographed. The old, black-and-white illustrations are mostly news photos. There is only random information about the informants and little about their traditions or daily lives. Still, the emphasis on original material will bring readers closer to the tragic history of these new Americans than books based on secondary sources, such as William McGuire's Southeast Asians (1991).

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
Page count: 118pp
Publisher: Chelsea House