The Lucky Ones uncovers the story of the Tape family in post-gold rush, racially explosive San Francisco. Mae Ngai paints a fascinating picture of how the role of immigration broker allowed patriarch Jeu Dip (Joseph Tape) to both protest and profit from discrimination, and of the Tapes as the first of a new social type--middle-class Chinese Americans.
Tape family history illuminates American history. Seven-year-old Mamie attempts to integrate California schools, resulting in the landmark 1885 case Tape v. Hurley. The family's intimate involvement in the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair reveals how Chinese American brokers essentially invented Chinatown, and so Chinese culture, for American audiences. Finally, The Lucky Ones reveals aspects--timely, haunting, and hopeful--of the lasting legacy of the immigrant experience for all Americans.
This expanded edition features a new preface and a selection of historical documents from the Chinese exclusion era that forms the backdrop to the Tape family's story.
Mae Ngai is professor of history and the Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.
"[A] fresh portrait of Chinese immigrants, America and the past century . . . deceptively novelistic and evocative. . . . [A]n absorbing story."--Anderson Tepper, New York Times Book Review
"Ngai fashions a terrifically readable, compelling work about the little-known middle-class in the Chinese immigrant experience."--Publishers Weekly
"[F]ascinating. . . . With meticulous research into the Tapes' daily lives, [Ngai] sheds light on the choices certain family members made to secure a future for themselves and their children."--Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
"Ngai paints a vivid picture of an exceptional Chinese American family making its own history while ably weaving the Tape family saga into the history of Chinese exclusion. . . . [This] is an important contribution to the history of Chinese America."--Robert G. Lee, Journal of American History
"The Lucky Ones is a model of historical scholarship. Mae Ngai extracts from limited records a lively and nuanced narrative of the Tape family and vividly illuminates how conditions of inequality fester and spread through human greed and aspiration. The telling tale of the Tapes challenges commonly held myths of immigrant absorption over generations."--Madeline Y Hsu, author of Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and Southern China, 1882-1943
"Rigorously researched and well written, The Lucky Ones engages scholars as well as the general public."--Gordon H. Chang, Stanford Universit
Table of Contents
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Mae M. Ngai: