A Chinaman's Chance: One Family's Journey and the Chinese American Dream
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"Liu’s ability to so neatly capture the complexities of cultural identity on both deeply personal and more global levels is what makes this book shine. . . . [H]e guides us to see just how our everyday views of ‘they’ and ‘I’ are formed . . . and how they change.” —Seattle Times
“Eric Liu brilliantly mines the history and experiences of Chinese Americans to draw insights into the current relationship between China and America, and to chart a course for the future. Whip-smart, enlightening, and always entertaining, Liu blends the personal and the socio-political to explore how we as Americans see the world, and each other.” —David Henry Hwang, Tony Award–winning playwright of M. Butterfly
When Chinese immigrants first came to the United States in large numbers, they were consigned to the most thankless tasks and roles in society. Thus was born the phrase, “a Chinaman’s chance”--meaning no chance at all. But today Chinese Americans embody a more complicated narrative about opportunity. In this searching, wide-ranging book, Eric Liu traces his family’s history, culture, and future, and in so doing pieces together a sense of Chinese American identity—and, indeed, American identity itself. Provocative, often playful, always thoughtful, Liu considers the meaning of Confucius in modern life; the unseen role of Chinese Americans in shaping how we read the Constitution, and the made-in-the-USA notion of Tiger parenting. This book is deeply personal yet provides insights into universal matters: identity, family, and the fate of the American idea.