This groundbreaking book traces 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 events 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 beleived he was Japanese; the apartheid-like working conditions of Filipinos in the Alaska salmon canneries; the boycott of Korean American greengrocers in Brooklyn; the L.A. riots; and the casting of non-Asians in the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. The book also examines the rampant sterotyping of Asian Americans, which has an impact on key issues concerning all Americans, from affirmative action and campaign finance to popular culture and national security.
"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