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Publisher's Summary

In the past 50 years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day.

An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States. From the sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s to the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States, only to face massive racial discrimination, and from the Asian exclusion laws of the 19th century to Japanese American incarceration during World War II, this is a comprehensive history.

Over the past 50 years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a "despised minority", Asian Americans are now held up as America's "model minorities" in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States.

Published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the United States' Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which has remade our "nation of immigrants", this is a new and definitive history of Asian Americans. But more than that, it is a new way of understanding America itself, its complicated histories of race and immigration, and its place in the world today.

©2015 Erika Lee (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"An impressive work that details how this diverse population has both swayed and been affected by the United States." ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about The Making of Asian America

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Great content, terrible narration

Would you consider the audio edition of The Making of Asian America to be better than the print version?

No, narration is poor and disengaging. I own the print copy and will likely switch over to reading rather than listening.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Making of Asian America?

This book is important - it's content is often relegated to Asian American Studies and Lee's synthesis is well done. Great primer to Asian American history and a more diverse view of American history.

What didn’t you like about Emily Woo Zeller’s performance?

She sounds like a robot and there are odd, staccato pauses throughout that break the flow.

8 people found this helpful

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An historical look at immigration through the lens of Asian American life in America

So very good. Well sourced. I highly recommend reading it, especially through this 2016 election season. Very similar debates have been had throughout US history about who has a right to be American. And it is interesting how the line divided between those who think being American is an exclusive right for just a few and those who see American values as inclusive for all who want to adopt them--nationalists vs. globalists. Also captured are beautiful stories of beautifully diverse peoples. I had no idea how much history I share as an Africa American with Asian Americans. I am saddened by how they have been and still are treated in America, but I am also greatly encouraged by their triumphs. Wonderful, wonderful book.

5 people found this helpful

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Informative book hindered by the Narrator

This was a comprehensive listen spanning the breadth of what we mean as “Asian.” I learned a great deal from this book. However, it suffers from awkward pauses in the narration, especially when the narrator is quoting from a secondary source.

3 people found this helpful

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A Necessary Survey of American History

With sophistication and exhaustive research author Erika Lee introduces the reader to the shrouded histories of an entire swath of Americans. A vital read for descendants. A heartening song to fellow immigrants of different lands. A critical necessity for those whose image of prototypical American skews towards Northern Europe.

The reader will be introduced to cultures with long and cruel histories in North America, in geographic areas surprising not for being illogical or strange, but for how exploited and intentionally buried they were by the American government. Shock will register against the stunning turns and often violent manipulations against entire ethnic groups, first invited and then hunted for expulsion, all to the benefit for petty changes to socio-economic winds.

That pettiness betrays a oppressively heavy truth further into the text when, compared to the high-minded rhetoric of human rights and freedom drubbing from pulpits and podiums throughout American history books, the epidemic nature of abuse and inequality becomes clear. There is nowhere for a thinking person shelter from the centuries-long brutality of American politics and government geared towards power and ambition alone.

To read this work, performed by Emily Woo Zeller with knowing temperance, is to be confronted by the painful reality that, yes, Americans are sold a fable of their righteousness, but beyond that tired, common trope, the truth is so much worse.

And through it all, immigrants and their children still struggle to rise above.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 02-06-19

Robotic reading

I can’t believe the audible of this book is almost 30 bucks! It is like a robot reading. Could have just copied my pdf into one of those text to speech apps. Very disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

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Heartbreaking

Our history at times is so disappointing but we need to know the truth and learn each other’s journey so that we can come together for understanding and healing.

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Excellent content. Terrible narration.

This book is very well organized as it addressed how individuals from many Asian nationalities helped shape Asian America. I found the stories helpful in understanding the full picture.

The narration made getting through this important content brutal. The monotone vocal quality and poor inflection ability made the book drag. My son happened to hear about 10 seconds of it and reacted saying how boring it sounded.

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Learned A Lot

Very detailed and informational! Long but informative. I learned a lot about the historical experiences of Asian Americans!

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An Informative Historical Perspective

This is valuable for Asians who want to understand their history in the United States. Did you know that the first Asian colony was in Louisiana? This is a fascinating account of where we came from or more accurately how the perception of Asians evolved over time.

The last chapter was, for me, the most interesting, because it discussed how Asians are meeting the challenges of contemporary society.

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Good book, grateful for narration!

I had this book in print for over a year but needed narration to finish.