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20ogBook Reviews441 Asian Texans: Our Histories and Our Lives. Edited by Irwin A. Tang. (Austin: The It Works Publishing, 2008. Pp. 416. Illustrations, tables, notes, index. ISBN: 9780967943374, $35.00 cloth.) According to die 2000 U.S. Census, more Asian Americans reside in Texas tiian in Hawaii, a state known for its high concentration of Asian residents. Yet die stories of over 600,000 Asian Texans are generally unknown. Irwin A. Tang, a freelance writer and the editor of Asian Texans points to several factors that have contributed to diat phenomenon. First, in a large and highly populated state as Texas, Asian Texans are more of a minority and hence "easy to overlook" (p. 356). Second, unlike in Hawaii and California, Asian Texans are recent arrivals, mostly since World War II, and therefore their history here is much shorter. Consequendy, Tang's purpose in this volume is to recover the voices of Asian Texans who have been "ignored, suppressed, and generally omitted from mass media or history books" (p. x). Asian Texans is a compilation of seventeen essays organized chronologically by ethnic groups. Due to the size of their population and length of their history, Tang devotes individual chapters to the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese peoples. Additional chapters chronicle smaller, more recent additions to the state's "melting pot"—or chili bowl—the Cambodians, Tibetans, Malaysians, Sri Lankans, Indonesians, Pacific Islanders, and others. In addition Tang includes three "pan-ethnic" chapters. The first provides an overview ofAsian-Texan history, placing it within the larger historical contexts of immigration, race relations, military activities, and international events. He further identifies three overlapping periods of Asian-Texan history—the "racialcaste period" (1836-1947), the "military period" (1937-1980), and the "diversification period" (1965-present). The book concludes with a demographic profile of the state and a final chapter on examples of common, inter-ethnic cooperation . Many of the contributors belong to the communities they wrote about. For example, Irwin A. Tang, a Chinese Texan and the text's editor, authored "The Asian American Underground Railroad." He details the anti-Chinese movement in the U.S. that resulted in the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882). With legal immigration closed, thousands of Chinese landed in Mexico and entered the U.S. illegally near El Paso, aided by an underground network of friends and smugglers. Naoko Kato, a Japanese Texan, narrates the story ofJapanese "war brides" who married American military men and arrived in significant numbers during die 1 950s. Socially and racially isolated, diey "sought community, friendship, and solace " among other Asian wives (p. 259). Thao L. Ha, a second generation Vietnamese Houstonian, describes two waves of refugees to the United States following the Vietnam War. Many arrived in Texas, especially its coastal cities, and worked as shrimpers in the seafood industry, entrepreneurs in the nail salon business, and owners of ethnic restaurants. But their assimilation was not without discord, as competition, "discount nail salons," and racial differences led to tensions —and at times violence—between them and their white rivals. Similar to recent treatments of other ethnic and racial minorities, Tang 442Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril depicts Asian Texans as active agents in their quest for acceptance, prosperity, and survival. Rather tiian a condemning tone towards discrimination and immigration restrictions, he and other contributors show how Asian Texans turned to their families and distinctive cultures to rebuild their lives and form communities . But the volume is not without its problems. To label the book a collection of essays by experts is a bit of a misnomer since die editor (Tang) wrote or co-wrote thirteen of the seventeen chapters, revised, and published the book. One wonders how much of the essays represent die contributors or Tang's interpretation. Although most chapters utilized interviews and newspapers, the treatment and documentation of the various groups were uneven. Still, the book makes a useful addition to Asian-Texan history and Texana, while the many photos complement the anthology. Lamar UniversityMary L. Kelley No Settlement, No Conquest: A History of the Coronado Entrada. By Richard Flint. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008. Pp. 376. Maps, appendices , notes, references, index. ISBN 9780826343628, $29.95 cloth.) Those familiar with...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 441-442
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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