“Victor and Brett de Bary Nee are extraordinary listeners. They instinctively identify with the underdog, but they have the capacity to listen to people of all ages and persuasions. The result is a panoply of voices from Chinatown, presented in richer and more penetrating detail than anything now in print.
—Ezra Vogel, Director, East Asian Research Center, Harvard University
“This is a fascinating book, a mind-stretching book, and at the same time a very painful book for a white American to read.
“Here is portrayed in all its contradictory variety and unquenchable vitality the Chinese community of San Francisco, from aging laborers, forced into bachelorhood by the infamous Exclusion Act, playing chess on Portsmouth Square, to cocky mainland refugees fresh out of Hongkong seeking free education and a slice of prosperity à la California: from the merchant kings of the Six Companies, ironically stranded on a Kuomintang shoal as the American government suddenly tacks in the direction of Peking, to the myriad Cantonese-speaking women in the garment shops of the Chinese ghetto falsifying their time cards to show earnings equal to the federal minimum wage. Why have we known so little of all this before?
“As the impact of the Chinese revolution and the liberation struggles of Asia, Africa, and Latin America begin to penetrate the American consciousness the painful drama of all the third world people here strides on the stage. May Victor and Brett de Bary Nee’s book open our minds and our hearts and inspire us to confront the social and class forces that have fouled the American dream for so many for so long.”
—William Hinton, author of Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village and Hundred Day War: The Cultural Revolution at Tsinghua University