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Asian American Dreams Paperback – May 1 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: FSG Adult; First Edition edition (May 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374527369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374527365
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #174,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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"Little China doll, what's your name? Read the first page
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By Sheng F Hsu on Aug. 23 2003
Format: Paperback
I would give it more then 5 stars if I could. It should be a part of our school curriculum.
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By nunchi on Nov. 20 2002
Format: Hardcover
I remember as a young child, other kids would ask me, "Where are you from?" Even though I was a native U.S. citizen, I would answer "Korea" without even thinking about it. Their response would be a blank stare and a "Where?" They all knew China, and even Japan, but rarely Korea. I grew up thinking that I was from a place that no one knew existed. Now when people ask me, "Where are you from?" I answer "Los Angeles," and I receive the response, "You know what I mean. Really, where are you from?" This question has plagued me throughout my life. People assume I cannot simply be an American - I must be a foreigner.
What Helen Zia has done is taken this universal experience among Asian Americans and transformed it into a quest to learn what it means to be Asian and American. She examines pivotal points in Asian American history and acknowledges racism, but also examines what Asian Americans must do as a whole to become seen as "American" and not as a "gook" or a "chink." As a college student who's done a little bit of research on Asian Americans, it enlightened me on my responsibilites to make my voice heard and also educated me on the history of the Asian American Civil Rights Movement - something that didn't even exist 60 years ago.
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By A Customer on Dec 13 2001
Format: Paperback
Zia's accout of Asian American history is highly readable, panning a long stretch of time and focusing in on a series of major events (that are detailed in other reviews, which I will not reiterate). And, as many of the reviewers already stated, she provides more than an introduction to these events. Unfortunately, Zia's journalistic background---which I see as the simplification of complex issues and the lack of historical depth---surfaces often when she attempts to provide historical context. That is, she often paints in broad strokes (in an effort to state her case, no doubt), especially when dealing with other ethnic groups. A case in point is her discussion of 1921 and 1924 immigration quotas acts. Instead of simply dealing with the implication of these acts on immigration from Asia, she decides to insert statistics on immigration from Italy at the time, leaving the reader to conclude that immigration from Italy was not restricted. Why she does this, one can only wonder. In fact, the quotas acts did reduce immigration from Italy to a mere trickle, and the language that was used to reduce this immigration was most certainly racialized, since Italians were seen as a dark skinned, uneducated, crime-prone people. Zia would have been better advised to leave reference to Italians out, especially if she is not willing to do them historical justice. After all, they too are an ethnic minority with their own distinct history in America Aside from this slip (visable in other places in her text), Zia still writes a very informed and accessible text.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for those who are interested in any of the following: Asian American history, Asian American contributions to the civil rights movement, relationships b/w various Asian American groups and African Americans, Asian American experiences of discrimination and or prejudice, the model minority paradigm. Ms. Zia has written a winner, full of facts and commentary balancing the perfect combination of history and anecdote. One of my favorite recent reads.
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Format: Paperback
Asian American Dreams is really a touching book. It is touching not because it is a fiction with many moving plots and the hero or heroin possesses moving characteristics --- strictly speaking it is not a fiction --- but because it provides a description, a statement, a confession from the perspective of an Asian American woman writer who exposes so unelaborated, so frankly, so honestly, her innocent feelings about her being as an Asian American.
Helen Zia, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, born in New Jersey, grew up in the fifties when there were only 150, 000 Chinese Americans in the entire country. As an award-winning journalist who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zia has covered Asian American communities and social and political movements for more than twenty years.
Different from the other minorities groups, she assumed what Chinese Americans wished to be was not how to preserve their cultural identity, instead, they tried to explore by what they could be made a fully American. However, she was obviously dissatisfied with she was forever conceived as an “alien” even she was born in New Jersey.
“There is a drill,” she wrote, “ that nearly all Asians in America have experienced more times than they can count. Total strangers will interrupt with the absurdly existential question ‘What are you?’ Or the equally common inquiry ‘Where are your from?’ Their queries are generally well intentioned, made in the same detached manner that you might use to inquire about a pooch’s breed.”
....
She clearly pointed out a situation that Asian Americans, particularly Chinese Americans, had been facing in the American setting.
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