Voices of the Second Wave

Voices of the Second Wave: Chinese Americans in Seattle -- Oral Histories of 35 Chinese Americans who immigrated 1934 - 1968

Read what others have to say about Voices of the Second Wave.

For me, this is a project from the heart, a tribute to a "lost generation" of Chinese Americans largely overlooked by historians. In this book, 35 individuals tell their amazing  life stories in their own, authentic voices.

In the 1800s, the “first wave” of Chinese immigrants came to the U.S. to search for gold and to build railroads, later forming Chinatowns and working in low-wage jobs in laundries, restaurants, and garment factories. They braved the high seas to earn money to send back home to their families in poor rural areas of southern China. Most spoke Cantonese.

The “second wave” of Chinese immigrants differs markedly from that first wave, and much less has been written about them. After the Japanese invasion of China, and especially after the Communist victory there, many young Chinese students came to the U.S. seeking an education. Men and women, they came from all parts of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and spoke Mandarin, the language of higher education, as well as their regional dialects.

Click here for a list of people whose stories are told in Voices of the Second Wave.

This group of young people included many of “the best and the brightest” of China, graduates of the best universities in China and Taiwan, sons and daughters of its entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, and government leaders. Most came to the U.S. for graduate school, and many studied science or engineering, the academic fields most valued back home. Their education and skills were badly needed in their homeland, and normally most would have returned home to help modernize their native country.

This ground-breaking book, VOICES OF THE SECOND WAVE: CHINESE AMERICANS IN SEATTLE is a compilation of stories from Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. as part of this “second wave.” I hope it will appeal to Chinese American communities across the country, immigrants and their children, as well as researchers in the field of Chinese-American studies.

This book is available in paperback through Dori's store.