In this important and masterful synthesis of the Chinese and Japanese experience in America, historian Roger Daniels provides a new perspective on the significance of Asian immigration to the United States. Examining the period from the mid-nineteenth century to the early 1980s, Daniels presents a basic history comprising the political and socioeconomic background of Chinese and Japanese immigration and acculturation. He draws distinctions and points out similarities not only between Chinese and Japanese but between Asian and European immigration experiences, clarifying the integral role of Asians in American history.
Daniels’ research is impressive and his evidence is solid. In forthright prose, he suggests fresh assessments of the broad patterns of the Asian American experience, illuminating the recurring tensions within our modern multiracial society. His detailed supporting material is woven into a rich historical fabric which also gives personal voice to the tenacious individualism of the immigrant.
The book is organized topically and chronologically, beginning with the emigration of each ethnic group and concluding with an epilogue that looks to the future from the perspective of the last two decades of Chinese and Japanese American history. Included in this survey are discussions of the reasons for emigration; the conditions of emigration; the fate of first generation immigrants; the reception of immigrants by the United States government and its people; the growth of immigrant communities; the effects of discriminatory legislation; the impact of World War II and the succeeding Cold War era on Chinese and Japanese Americans; and the history of Asian Americans during the last twenty years.
This timely and thought-provoking volume will be of value not only to specialists in Asian American history and culture but to students and general historians of American life.