Book Description from the Front Cover FlapFROM 1910 TO 1940, over half a million people sailed through the Golden Gate, hoping to start a new life in America. But they did not all disembark in San Francisco; instead, most were ferried across the bay to the Angel Island Immigration Station. For many, this was the real gateway to the United States. For others, it was a prison and their final destination, before being sent home.
In this landmark book commemorating the immigration station's 100th anniversary, historians Erika Lee and Judy Yung have written the first comprehensive history of the Angel Island Immigration Station. Drawing on extensive new research, including immigration records, oral histories, and inscriptions on the barrack walls, the authors produce a sweeping yet intensely personal history of Chinese "paper sons," Japanese picture brides, Korean refugee students, South Asian political activists, Russian and Jewish refugees, Mexican families, Filipino repatriates, and many others from around the world. Their experiences on Angel Island reveal how America's discriminatory immigration policies changed the lives of immigrants and transformed the nation.
A place of heartrending history and breathtaking beauty, the Angel Island Immigration Station is a National Historic Landmark, and like Ellis Island, it is recognized as one of the most important sites where America's immigration history was made. This fascinating history is ultimately about America itself and its complicated relationship to immigration, a story that continues today.
Comments from Back Cover"Erika Lee and Judy Yung have written the definitive book on Angel Island. The book is meticulously researched and covers not just the Chinese experience but the experiences of all the people who passed through the immigration station. Lee and Yung have used the personal stories of immigrants to make time and place come alive, reminding us that history is something that happens to real people and their families."
- LISA SEE, author of On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of a Chinese-American Family
"With this comprehensive history, Angel Island may now stand alongside Ellis Island as the other iconic gateway to America. Lee and Yung give a thorough and humane look at the immigrants from surprisingly diverse origins who encountered an America both welcoming and unwelcoming on the Pacific coast."
"In this meticulously researched and richly detailed book, Lee and Yung have unlocked Angel Island's deepest secrets and the link between U.S. immigration policy and restrictive codas of race, gender, class. Their spellbinding narrative lets us journey with Anglos and Latinos as well as Asians and myriad others as they attempt to pass through the eye of the Immigration Station needle-with often vastly different results. Deeply relevant to present-day immigration debates, this book is people's history at its best."
"With scholarly care and a great feel for the stories of those who passed through Angel Island, Erika Lee and Judy Yung have finally given this important historic site its due. This book teases out the complexities of America's immigration laws and their enforcement and in doing so greatly adds to our understanding of the immigrant experience."
Background on Erika Lee and Judy YungERIKA LEE is Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943.
JUDY YUNG is Professor Emerita of American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940s and Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco.
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Most recent revision September 22, 2010