Asian American Dreams by Helen Zia

Asian American Dreams

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

Details Asian American Dreams

TitleAsian American Dreams
Release DateMay 15th, 2001
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
GenreNonfiction, History, Race, Literature, Asian Literature

Reviews Asian American Dreams

  • Jasmine
    I'm at a point in my life where I'm questioning my cultural identity - should I be Asian-American or an Asian-European-American or just check the Other box? I'm not sure who or what group I want to be tied to, or if I want to be tied to any particular group anyways. Funnily enough, I didn't read this book to find out if I wanted to identify as Asian-American only. I read this as part of my Independent Study project at school (on Asians & Asian-Am...
  • Manshui
    Asian American Dreams is a true emergence of the American people. As an Asian American, I can connect to this story of Helen Zia's survival as Asian in America. The author brings many topics about descrimination and stereotype in her life in the Asian American race. I feel really glad that now more Asian Americans are speaking up on who they are even though they are different. Although we are a minority in the nation, many of us has left a import...
  • N_hannahkang
    Zia writes a well-researched and highly reflective account of the history and future of Asian Americans. I was drawn to Zia's book in the first few pages where she writes "In 1965, an immigration policy that had given racial preferences to Europeans for nearly two hundred years officially came to an end. Millions of new immigrants to America were no longer the standard vanilla but Hispanic, African, Caribbean, and - most dramatically for me - Asi...
  • Oyceter
    This was an excellent read. Zia was actually instrumental in some of the events of the book, and may have covered others as a journalist. Her writing is immediate and gripping, and I never had a problem keeping my attention on the book. On the other hand, sometimes Zia can editorialize a little too much for me, particularly when she's noting how wrong or ironic something is.Full review:
  • Ying
    REQUIRED READING + A BOOK TO OWN. so accessible. like a 101 text, but supercharged because of the delicate balance of context and detail, plus Helen Zia's journalist background.
  • Barb Middleton
    I was talking to a colleague who said she loved this book because it captured her conflicted identity growing up in America as an Asian who had no voice in government. She's an activist like Helen Zia. She tells a great story of her high school principal asking her at lunch one day how he could get the Chinese, Koreans, and white students to not eat separately. My colleague suggested to the principal to organize field trips. "Friendships are form...
  • April
    Another book from my college days, this is a comprehensive social history about various Asian groups in the U.S. and how they have fought and fared as an emerging political, social, cultural, and economic entity after the 1950's. Helen Zia weaves in her own experience of how she emerged as being a strong voice for Asian Americans, so this is part memoir as well. Thankful that we have people like Helen to document and share this important social h...
  • Sarah
    had a hard time making it through this book -- but because it was so real and hard to read about all that asian americans have faced. found myself near tears a little too many times on the bus or metro because how can i read about people being killed and being hated solely because they look a certain way, and that certain way is the same way that i look? i learned SO incredibly much in this book, and love how the history of asian america was wove...
  • Julia Liu
    As an Asian-American, I really don't know much about Asian-American history. We're a group that are mostly excluded from textbooks and there are few classes we can take (even at college) to learn about our past. Yet we are just as important a building block of America as other ethnic groups are, and Helen Zia narrates the Asian-American story--from the first immigrants to the present day--in a very well-written and research-heavy book. The two me...
  • Nate Hanson
    An exhaustingly meticulous record of the major struggles for equality of various Asian ethnicities in America, historically and currently. It was a slow but important read. Accounts of news media and Hollywood perpetuation of stereotypes, political willful ignorance, and struggles for unity between and within Asian ethnicities intensified hundreds of examples of racial injustices. As a white reader with skeletal knowledge of Asian-American histor...
  • Brian Stein
    I read this book on the recommendation of my wife, who used it for an Asian American Studies class she developed for the University of Virginia. I am so glad she did. Though I was a aware of one of the greatest American injustices of the 20th century, the forced internment of the Japanese population of the United States, I was surprised at my ignorance regarding a number of other high-profile injustices Asian-Americans have endured over the past ...
  • Tinea
    Solid general history of Asian Americans in the US over the past half century or so. As accessible as an intro, but with considerable depth into a wide variety of issues and events: hate crimes and legal civil rights battles, the LA Riots, immigrant struggles, race and racism (beyond the white/black dichotomy), Japanese internment, and lots of critical examination of the media. Zia presents a strong case for greater focus on Asian American histor...
  • Melissa
    Being yellow, I've never felt like I've had much of a place in America. I've never felt like i had much history or connection. A dear friend lent me her copy of this book, and though I had a hard time following the flow (it's a bit dry) this book reassured me that there is a history through Colonial times of Asians immigrating to the U.S., and being forced to emigrate as racism grew or declined over time. I wanted to finish it, but just couldn't ...
  • Helen Sun
    This is a significant book for Asian Americans; it highlights some of the lessons learned from our past experiences with racism, stereotypes, and identity-formation. Helen also details complex race, class and cultural dynamics that sometimes help to perpetuate stereotypes. For ex, when the Japanese are forced into internment camps or Korean store owners are victims of vandalism, other Asian groups remain silent. This reinforces the idea that Asia...
  • Matt Diephouse
    My wife and I are in the process of adopting from China, and the adoption agency had this book on a list of recommended resources.I found the first half of this book really interested. I had no idea that early Asian Americas encountered so much discrimination. E.g., for a long time Asians were denied citizenship and land ownership. This book really filled in some gaps in my knowledge.I thought the latter half of the book was less interestingparti...
  • Cindy
    Well-researched book about Asian and Asian-American experiences in the U.S. from early days of the country until recently. Zia shows the rise of activism and political work in the community in relation to events that have occurred over the years. The book is written in a way that makes it easy and quick to read, rather than say some books in college classes. Those who don't know much about Asian history and experience in the U.S. will find this b...
  • Whit
    A book centering on the Asian-American experience and the contemporary Asian-American civil rights movements that came with the arrival of Asians in the United States. It's written in both memoir form using personal anecdotes and in an investigative journalism format. Powerful and intriguing--a lot of Zia's essays contain shocking details of 20th-century acts of racism against Asians that I hadn't been aware of, even as an Asian-American myself.
  • Valerie
    Very important text for teaching Asian American Studies from a queer woman's perspective. This book works as on of the primary textbooks in a course on Asian American Women, Asian American Social History, Asian American Community Leadership, or an Asian American survey course. Some of the sections are dated, but the first three chapters still remain essential for teaching Asian American history and the unifying of a community.
  • Ji In
    Politics and civil rights *are* personal, and that's why this book works. I appreciated the natural flow between the more journalistic accounts of these important milestones in Asian and Pacific American history, shuffled in with Zia's personal anecdotes, often told from the frontlines. This book is empowering and well-composed, and a must-read for all Asian Americans -- correction: all Americans -- who are committed to advancing the civil rights...
  • Amy
    This is a comprehensive book on the history of Asian Americans in America. I was impressed by the depth it covered and was thankful that Ms. Zia shared her knowledge and research with her book.I wish that American high schools, universities and colleges would teach our citizens the important role Asian Americans played in building this country. But you can always learn it on your own! Read this book.
  • Tianjun Shen
    Overall, the book educated me on many a matter of Asian American histories and the dynamics the Asian race played in American history. The first few chapters are engaging, but as I read on, the book seems more like a (a little boring) history textbook. Wish there were more "stories" than historical narratives.
  • Susannah
    as a korean adoptee, this book really helped me discover who i am as an asian american. i had the chance to meet the author and she signed my copy! she's a role model and an inspiration. although a couple of my asian friends called this book "asian americans for dummies." it!
  • Soo Mi Kil
    I read this long ago. I remember this was an interesting read and that a mayor of San Francisco wanted to fly a hot air balloon full of explosives over Chinatown to get rid of Asians. I highly recommend this to all but especially my peeps who want to know what our peeps went through.
  • Jamie
    This book enlightened me to all the things i have been searching for, with the evidence of large Asian contributions to America. Zia refutes her case by diplomatically sharing the stories of important Asian Americans, and intelligently shows the issues of the Asian stereotype in america.
  • Daniel
    A lot of very interesting parts of American history I was unaware. An important read for anyone.
  • Wanda Luong
    I really liked learning about the Asian experience in America...especially since we don't get to learn a lot of this in grade school.
  • Abby
    Strongly recommended. The experience of Asian Americans in the United States both historical and current.
  • Marissa
    Great crash course on various issues that have affected Asian Americans since the 1700's. This covers the major events that have encouraged the development of the Asian American identity.
  • Kim
    This is a requirement for my Asian American History class, however so far, so good. Very informative.