On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family

By Lisa See

Out of the tales heard in her early life in Los Angeles's Chinatown and years of analysis, See has built this sweeping chronicle of her Chinese-American family members, a piece that takes in tales of racism and romance, entrepreneurial genius and household heartache, mystery marriages and sibling rivalries, in a strong heritage of 2 cultures assembly in a brand new international. eighty two images.

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In the beginning, Crocker met with large resistance. Upon listening to the assumption, the superintendent of development exclaimed in distaste, “I won't boss chinese language. ” And Stanford, who had campaigned on an anti-Chinese platform simply 4 years prior to, confronted public embarrassment if he reversed himself. nonetheless, Crocker pressed his case, counting on the easy undeniable fact that his companions have been astute businessmen acquainted with contemplating the base line. firstly of 1865, fifty chinese language men—former miners who had adventure with drills and explosives—were employed on an experimental foundation. They proved such a success that six months later among and 3 thousand chinese language labored at the railroad. That first iciness used to be the cruelest on list. “Crocker’s Pets,” as they got here to be identified, lived like moles. They dug tunnels via forty-foot snowdrifts and persisted to put song. Avalanches whisked males away, tunnels collapsed. nonetheless the paintings went on. whilst the spring thaws got here, males have been exposed nonetheless status and retaining their instruments, their faces frozen in loss of life mask of horror. by way of the summer season of 1868, nine-tenths of the fourteen thousand railroad employees at the crucial Pacific have been Chinese—nearly one-quarter of the whole inhabitants of chinese language within the state. They dynamited via 1,695 ft of stable rock to create the Donner Tunnels. whereas the employees at the Union Pacific rushed throughout the flatlands of Nebraska and the plains, the chinese language at the vital Pacific equipped a line that rose seven thousand ft in a single hundred miles. diminished via wicker baskets down sheer cliffs, they chiseled via granite and shale to carve out cabinets on which to put tune. With hammers, crowbars, and dynamite they made the earth yield to the objectives of the massive 4. each one evening, excessive within the mountains, Fong Dun Shung and the opposite chinese language employees amassed round the campfire. One evening there may be a video game of dow ngow, the sport of the fighting bulls, with each one guy shaking the cube to figure out who should still throw the dominoes first. yet quite often they performed fan-tan. The broker put a small handful of buttons from a pan at the floor below a cup. After bets have been laid down, the cup was once lifted and the buttons counted out 4 at a time. the boys who guessed what number buttons will be left—one, , 3, or none—would be winners looking on how that they had positioned their bets. sometimes they have been entertained by way of fiddlers or flutists who had damaged freed from existence at the railroad gang and now traveled from camp to camp. On a few nights, expert storytellers regaled them with stories of the Monkey King sunlight Wu Kung, or the tales of the Manchus or of the 3 Kingdoms. At typical durations a civilized barber got here into camp and the lads waited their turns to have their foreheads shaved and their queues rebraided. On these evenings whilst no viewers got here via, the drained employees could ask Fong Dun Shung to inform them a narrative. “Remind us of our home,” anyone may possibly say, as he poked at a candy potato cooking within the embers of the hearth.

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