** The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee


Written by a historian, The Making of Asian America: A History traces immigration by Asians starting with trips to New Spain all the way to the present. The author does a great job of showing how the story is different for each country, and how famines and wars (often caused by US interventions) shaped the timing of arrivals. She also exposes the eyebrow-raising racism that was exercised on Asian immigrants, much worse than for European immigrants whose children could expect to blend in, one day. And she carefully deconstructs the “model minority” myth by showing that, while some Asian Americans are much more successful, as measured by education and income than average, Asian Americans can also be found in disproportionate numbers at the other end of the poverty scale.

The book reminded me of Strangers from a Different Shore, although with more modern coverage, especially of Hmong immigration. I found it to be somewhat clunky, perhaps because built from already-written articles, each  focused on a particular slice of history, but still very interesting.

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