Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940

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Product Details
$29.95  $27.85
University of Washington Press
Publish Date
8.1 X 10.0 X 0.9 inches | 1.7 pounds

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About the Author

The late Him Mark Lai was internationally renowned as the dean of Chinese American history and the author of The Chinese of America, 1785-1980 and Becoming Chinese American: A History of Communities and Institutions. Genny Lim is a native San Francisco poet, playwright, performer, and educator. She is the author of three poetry collections and the award-winning play Paper Angels, about Chinese immigrants detained on Angel Island. Judy Yung is professor emerita of American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the author of Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco and Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America.


"More than two decades ago, the first edition of Island brought the plight of Chinese immigrants in America to the academic forefront through the poetry they left behind at Angel Island. The updated and recently published second edition expands that focus with more poems, interviews, archival photos and an enhanced discussion of historical context....The resulting tome is sure to be a touchstone for Chinese and Asian American Studies for generations to come.... As our nation continues to be a mecca for impoverished people from other countries, Angel Island reminds us to check our attitudes and policies toward immigration, because for all the benefits of being a multicultural and democratic nation there are myriad untold costs."

--Misa Shikuma "International Examiner"

"During the time they spent on the island, as little as a few days, as long as three years, [immigrants] carved and ink-brushed their concerns onto the walls of their barracks. One hundred thirty-five calligraphic poems survived, first discovered by a Federal park ranger after Angel Island was abandoned in 1940. Together with the interviews, the poems -- angry, heroic, wrenchingly forlorn, despairing, provocative, resistant -- convey, as no secondhand or thirdhand account could ever do, what it was like to be Chinese and to be on Angel Island."

-- "New York Times"

"It reclaims the migration history of ordinary Chinese Americans. . . . Poignant testimony to what it meant to be Chinese in America at the beginning of the twentieth century."

--Elena Barabantseva "Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies"