Book details

Asian American Dreams

The Emergence of an American People

Author: Helen Zia

Asian American Dreams

Asian American Dreams


About This Book

The fascinating story of the rise of Asian Americans as a politically and socially influential racial group

This groundbreaking book is about the transformation of Asian...

Page Count
On Sale

Book Details

The fascinating story of the rise of Asian Americans as a politically and socially influential racial group

This groundbreaking book is about the transformation of Asian Americans from a few small, disconnected, and largely invisible ethnic groups into a self-identified racial group that is influencing every aspect of American society. It explores the junctures that shocked Asian Americans into motion and shaped a new consciousness, including the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, by two white autoworkers who believed he was Japanese; the apartheid-like working conditions of Filipinos in the Alaska canneries; the boycott of Korean American greengrocers in Brooklyn; the Los Angeles riots; and the casting of non-Asians in the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. The book also examines the rampant stereotypes of Asian Americans.

Helen Zia, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, was born in the 1950s when there were only 150,000 Chinese Americans in the entire country, and she writes as a personal witness to the dramatic changes involving Asian Americans.

Written for both Asian Americans—the fastest-growing population in the United States—and non-Asians, Asian American Dreams argues that America can no longer afford to ignore these emergent, vital, and singular American people.

Imprint Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



In The News

“An ambitious blend of personal and cultural history, a primer on Asian America that covers everything from the history of Asian immigration to the turbulence of the past three decades as the community has gone from silent majority to demanding its place in American society.” —Ferdinand M. de Leon, The Seattle Times

“An important book because it seeks to answer a question that few other popular works pose: What does it take for people like the author to become fully American?” —Somini Sengupta, The New York Times Book Review

“Written with journalistic clarity Asian American Dreams offers a way out of the cycle of racial prejudice, discrimination and violence. Its examples of individuals and communities that have spanned cultural antipathies to fight for a cause serve as beacons of hope.” —Roger Yim, San Francisco Chronicle

“Helen Zia has produced what many of us were waiting for--an honest, scholarly, yet intensely personal book about the transformation of Asian America. She deftly interweaves the remarkable history of a people with her own unique journey as a pioneer activist and writer. The result--Asian American Dreams--is a fresh and incisive narrative, epic in its sweep, thrilling in its verve and clarity.” —Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking

“A rich chronicle of personal and national history involving Asian Americans that examines issues ranging from immigration patterns to stereotypes in entertainment.” —Dinah Eng, Gannett News

“Dreams is a wonderful, sophisticated, lively sociohistorical biography of Asian Pacific Americans fighting back to broaden the human rights of U.S. citizens and immigrants alike. Herein Helen Zia emerges as the foremost activist-chronicler of the eighties and nineties.” —John Kuo Wei Tchen, professor, New York University, author of New York Before Chinatown

“Serves not only as an invaluable record of a movement but also as a moving and often funny personal memoir.” —David Henry Hwang

About the Creators

Asian American Dreams

Asian American Dreams