A deeply reported look at the Chinese immigrant community in the United States, casting a new light on what it means to seek the American dreamNearly three years ago, journalist Lauren Hilgers received an unexpected call. Hello, Lauren! a man shouted in halting Mandarin. We might be seeing you in New York again soon! The voice belonged to Zhuang Liehong, a Chinese man who had been arrested in his home country for leading a string of protests, and whom Hilgers had met the previous year while reporting a story. Despite zero contacts and a shaky grasp of English, Zhuang explained that he and his wife, Little Yan, had a plan to escape from their American tour group and move to Flushing, Queens, to escape persecution back home. A few weeks later, they arrived on Hilgers's doorstep. With a novelistic eye for character and detail, Hilgers weaves their story with a larger investigation of the Chinese community in Flushing, one of the fastest-growing immigrant enclaves in the US. There's Tang Yuanjun, a former Tiananmen Square leader who has come to terms with living a shadow life in America as his friends and family continue their own in China. And Karen, one of Little Yan's friends from night school, who was kidnapped by her relatives yet remains hopeful, working part-time in a nail salon as she attends vocational school for hotel work. Patriot Number One is Hilgers's nuanced, through-the-looking-glass story of the twenty-first-century American dream. Zhuang and Little Yan's challenges reveal a world hidden in plain sight: the byzantine network of employment agencies and language schools, of underground banks and illegal dormitories that allow immigrants to survive. Amid a raging immigration debate on the national stage, Hilgers's deeply reported and beautifully wrought account paints a revealing portrait of just what it takes to survive....
|Title||:||Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown|
|Number of Pages||:||336 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Patriot » Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown|
Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown Reviews
Patriot Number One is the story of a Chinese man named Zhuang Liehong who ends up in New York after leaving his own Chinese village during political upheaval. The author captures the struggles and trials of living as an undocumented immigrant in America during this time and what Liehong and his wife must do in order to survive. The author writes with much detail, care, and in an incredibly engaging manner. I would highly recommend this book!
I am so sorry this will be my last Blogging for Books choice as they are discontinuing. I have loved getting print books, which are so much easier on my eyes. I thank them for the 27 books I reviewed over these last years.
Journalist Lauren Hilgers was covering a story of Chinese villagers protesting the land-grab by local authorities and demanding democratic rights when she met Zhuang Lienog, son of a fisherman and tea shop owner. When the corrupt local government decided to crack down on protes ...more
Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown is the true story of Zhuang Liehong, a Chinese immigrant, and activist. The story begins in Wukan, a small fishing village in Guangdong Province in China. Zhuang, incensed by the corruption in his town, spearheads a movement that he hopes will bring change. Instead, it becomes obvious that he is a marked man. He defects to the United States along with his wife, Little Yan, leaving their infant son with relatives.
The saga winds through the frustrat ...more
Clearly written from the start, Patriot Number One explores family, transition, and culture in a powerful and detailed way. I appreciated the author’s talent for description and emotion-invoking prose. This is a book to remember for some time.
The story of Zhuang Liehong and Little Yan’s escape from China, and the challenges they faced while navigating their new roles as immigrants in the America, was interesting. Early on, I was captivated by their story and felt empathy for the challenges they faced.
That said, I was turned off by the decision to include the stories of others who faced similar—yet uniquely different—problems.
I won’t say their stories weren’t important, nor will I say they weren’t compelling—Karen was certainly a woma ...more
The author spent six years in China, and had been back in America two years when a contact from her expatriate time phoned her suddenly, saying he would see her soon in New York. This was totally unexpected, although she knew that Zhuang Liehong and his wife, Little Yan, were hoping to escape from China and seek political asylum in the United States. Zhuang was a political activist, seeking to reform the local system in Wukan, the village where he lived. Corruption was rife, and he wanted justic ...more
Being an chinese immigrant, I was immediately drawn
**UPDATE: After some thought, I decided to up the rating to 5 stars instead of 4.5, as this book had such a profound impact on me, I'm still thinking about it even now. Also added to favorites folder**
With the ongoing immigration debate in the U.S. as of late, this book that takes a deep dive into the Chinese immigrant community through the stories of several immigrants pursuing their version of the American dream is a timely one that I feel everyone should read. Written by American journalist L ...more