anyone interested in Chinese Culture and Chinese history in the U.S. A fascinating story of immigration, adaptation, and melding cultures, she weaves the tales told by relatives with her own research, heart and imagination. On Gold Mountain is a history of the Fong See family in America when her great-grandfather immigrated as a youngster and entered Gold Mountain (the Chinese ;name for the United States). I picked this up expecting another fiction book by Lisa See. When she was a girl, Lisa See spent summers in the cool, dark recesses of her family's antiques store in Los Angeles's Chinatown. Lisa also wrote a libretto based … Refresh and try again. I have read almost all of Lisa See's books, so it only made sense for me to read about the true story concerning the past generations in her family tree. What original immigrant parents value their children often turn against. She focuses primarily on her great-grandfather's life as the arc of the story, including the three generations of Caucasian women who married into this sprawling Chinese-American family. Review: 'How Much Of These Hills Is Gold,' By C Pam Zhang C Pam Zhang's debut novel follows a brother and sister, children of Chinese laborers, as the search the dusty hills of Gold Rush … I love this book because it made me look at the immigration issue in a new way. As it progressed it was of particular interest to me, being from Los Angeles, to read about the development of Chinatown. APPLE BOOKS REVIEW. There, her grand-mother and great-aunt told her intriguing, colorful stories about their family's past - stories of missionaries, concubines, tong wars, glamorous nightclubs, and the determined struggle to triumph over racist laws and discrimination. Despite the lack of education, he had ambition; he worked hard and became a successful businessman. “Ghosts of Gold Mountain is a treasure trove of stories, and of exciting scholarship that answers questions many of us have asked for decades. There is no denying it is a special story; the book is just too realistic. Quite a book. This page works best with JavaScript. You can still see all customer reviews for the product. Family is an understatement, however, as the patriarch, Fong See, … All the details I love in her novels have their bedrock in her family legends. Part 3, Introduction: The End of the Frontier. On Gold Mountain was a non-fiction book about Lisa See's family history. The inclusion and interweaving of historical facts were deftly handled, so that I came away feeling better informed about this very important part of American history, yet still entertained. I think the author wanted to do justice to the many generations of her family, but in so doing she created a work that was tedious to the general general reader. Gold Mountain, the west coast in America, was supposedly filled with gold, and that truth/rumor drew multitudes of people from America and overseas to the west. The amount of research that went into this is somewhat mind boggling. In this necessary historical text, Stanford University history professor Gordon … Fong See opened up many stores and profited greatly. It is often easy to either wholly demonizes or idealize the adults we grew up with, but See is able to. Nevertheless it was fascinating to learn of her history and that of the other Chinese immigrants. It is heartbreaking how awful Chinese immigrants were treated in the last 100 years in America. "Those who fail learn from History are condemned to repeat it" Winston Churchill. There is so little history available for the cultures that make up this great country in The United States. I suppose that their story is also the story of every family. On Gold Mountain. It is mainly a story, not a history, yet this Angeleno spent an inordinate amount of time with the simple maps of Old and New Chinatown in downtown LA, tracing the streets I know and those that have disappeared into the mist. Other reviewers say that this feels like a novel--but it never feels like one to me. Disclaimer: Please double check event information with the event organizer as … Now I understand them to be really just meeting a demand that was created from back when Chinatowns were first created -- as a cultural hub for Chinese immigrants but also for folks who wanted a taste of that culture. If you've enjoyed any of Lisa See's novels, you will be happy to hear that although this story is based on historical events, it reads like one of her novels, with quite a lot of suspense, drama and even laughter. This is the history of the Chinese side of the family of author Lisa See. I think it is a national disgrace. The story is fascinating as the family grows, moves in different directions to create a dynasty for this Chinese family in America. The book was spotty. What a treat! You can see yourself walking the streets of Chinatown, as it forms and grows over the years. Note: Keep a list of who is who and who sounds like who, or you will get very confused. Many of these Caucasians have never had contact with a Chinese person, so do your best...You take the best of Chinese culture, you take the best of American culture, and blend the two. This seems to be one of her earliest books and it's the immigration and assimilation story of the Chinese and Chinese mixed with Caucasion part of her family. In 1867 Lisa See's great great grandfather arrived in America from China. Approximately 400 pages of family history from Lisa See's great great grandfathers immigration to work on the transcontinetal railroad to her latest sojourn to the small Chinese town of Dimato to meet her great grandfathers and great uncles third and fourth family relatives from their concubines left in China. After receiving your book, our Editors will allocate your book to one of the team of Ambassadors who will review the book and provide a detailed review which will then be emailed to you within 4 weeks of submission. She is an amazing researcher and writer. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. There are many themes in the book that have been seen elsewhere. Make your head spin? Superior tale of Chinese and Chinese-Americans in California from late 1800s railroad-building through four generations of struggle to the present day - an engaging historical account rendered delightfully personal through the stories Lisa tells in On Gold Mountain of her family history and her great grandfather Fong See and his journey to the West and sojourn on the gold mountain in Sacramento, San Francisco, and finally Los Angeles, where he founded a successful merchant dynasty and a family of many generations in and around mysterious Chinatown. They fought prejudice and discr. In order to survive, the Chinese were hired to do the backbreaking wor. Particularly interesting glimpse of early LA and Pasadena history. It is not for the squeamish. It's amazing to read many of the political speeches given in the early part of the 20th century about the Chinese and then to realize that many are saying the exact same things about some of the immigrants coming over today. I think this may be the first or one of the first non-fiction memoirs about a Chinese American family I’ve read. Nevertheless, for the most. It begins with the story of Fong See's immigration to the United States and his efforts to make himself a success. I also did let my prejudice get ahead of me and I wondered why a white woman was so fixed on Chinese settings. A non-fiction family saga about coming to the US from China and the experience of being an immigrant in America. What an eye-opener this family history is. I also did let my prejudice get ahead of me and I wondered why a white woman was so fixed on Chi. Do not think everything has to be Chinese. This book is a great story of how the Chinese influenced the growth of our Country so the USA became "from sea to shining sea". I have visited the Railroad Museum in Sacramento. The mixed family remains in Chinatown. In reality, little money was sent "home," and families were separated for years on end. In order to survive, the Chinese were hired to do the backbreaking work of building a railroad for very little money. On Gold Mountain is the history of the See family and like most histories it is most interesting to the one telling it. I especially liked the first sections about railroads and the family establishing their stores. At first, his workers made lacy underwear for prostitutes. The language is clear and lovely. I've always wondered why there were SO MANY shops selling the same mementos and culturally appropriated trinkets. The members of this family were leading actors in Los Angeles Chinatown for several generations, and they were so enterprising, adventurous, and hard-working that I was really inspired. But their courtship winds through 15 pages, several letters, dates and … It's like Sidney Sheldon's. Along the way, he and succeeding generations marry white American girls. The patriarch works on the railroad that was being built from California east to Utah where the eastern tracks were joined with the western to create the first cross country railroad. On one hand, you see the harsh treatment of indentured servants toiling on the railroads and the racism evident in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and during World War II. An interesting twist is that the original immigrant marries an American woman; the Chinese husband, American wife and bi-national children all face different types of discrimination. I was especially impressed with her ability to look critically at the actions of elders she grew up with. All very fascinating. Anyone who does so much research for a book and tells good stories deserves five stars. Quite a book. I had read a NY Times review for Flower Net - one of her more recent works, but what really intrigued me was the reference to this book, so I put it in my Kindle Q, and I'm so glad I did. I love Lisa See's fiction and I found this memoir interesting. that to survive and even thrive was an amazing achi. Positive reviews will receive an "Indie Books We Love" Badge for use with their book. The fact that this couple produced four sons and one daugther and two successful import companies is no small feat. However, the prose is difficult to read. Now I understand that while she has red hair and appears Caucasian, she identifies heavily as of Chinese descent given her family's rich history here in California/West Coast as well as overseas in Guangdong. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. They spoke of how Lisa's great-great-grandfather emigrated from his Chinese village to the United States; how his son followed him, married a Caucasian woman, and despite great odds, went on to become one of the most prominent Chinese on "Gold Mountain" (the Chinese name for the United States). Many images of early Los Angeles and Hollywood linger after the final page - little Lisa retreating to her grandparents house in Chinatown, Anna Mae Wong holding court in the See family restaurant, antique furniture rented to the studios for films. In this profound and inspiring book, Chang reveals at … I was not engaged at all in the story. I. etc.) Part I Chapter I The Wonder Time 1866-71 Fong Dun Shung hoisted his Gold Mountain … I especially liked the first sections about railroads and the family establishing their stores. The book is interesting in that the story is highly unique and new. Approximately 400 pages of family history from Lisa See's great great grandfathers immigration to work on the transcontinetal railroad to her latest sojourn to the small Chinese town of Dimato to meet her great grandfathers and great uncles third and fourth family relatives from their concubines left in China. We’d love your help. so I think either her family interviews were EXTREMELY in-depth or she speculated about a lot of stuff. I did not just want to pick up the book and read; I had to force myself to. The patriarch works on the railroad that was being built from California east to Utah where the eastern tracks were joined with the western to create the first cross country railroad. Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2019, First off, I live in California and have traveled across the Donner Pass by train and Interstate. I learned much about Chinese immigrants in the US and was enlightened about our country's history of dealing with various immigrant groups in general. As the book went on it was heartbreaking to read about the distance, petty differences, and shortcomings between the five original See children. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. I've been a Lisa See fan since Snow Flower and the Secret Fan but hadn't read her family's story. On one hand, you see the harsh treatment of inde. I probably would not of picked this book up to read if I had not decided to join my local book club this year. She interviewed nearly one hundred relatives - both Chinese and Caucasian, rich and poor - and pored over documents at the National Archives, the immigration office, and in countless attics, basements, and closets for the intimate nuances of her ancestors' lives. She missed a gem. I wanted to compare technique. Little money was made. On Gold Mountain is the history of the See family and like most histories it is most interesting to the one telling it. Lisa's Chinese great grandfather had such an incredible life, if he was a fictional character it would be a little bit hard to believe. It begins with the story of Fong See's immigration to the United States and his efforts to make himself a success. We grew up visiting LA's Chinatown often but, after reading Lisa's book, it's no longer "just Chinatown, Jake," and is now a whole new marvelous place peopled with folks we now know much better, at least in memory. One quote on the book's cover said that it was as "readable as any novel" but I don't find this to be true. In all the most amazing part of the book for me was the marriage between Fong See and Letticie Pruitt. In Ghosts Of Gold Mountain, historian Gordon H. Chang of Stanford University struggles to tell their story. But at times the book just dragged for me. Start by marking “On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family” as Want to Read: Error rating book. Lisa's ancestors were those people. I am a huge fan of Lisa See's fiction, but this one was tough for me to finish. This is a fascinating, intimate story of a family's American saga, meticulously researched and unabashedly frank. You marvel at how visionary and bold they were. Be the first to ask a question about On Gold Mountain. This took me a long time to finish (as in, months), but i really enjoyed it. Long but spellbinding true story of a Chinese immigrant to the US in the 19th century told by his great granddaughter. I took it as sort of a fictionalized memoir, like the Little House books. This book was my cup of tea. In the end, Lisa See provided a very detailed account of her families joys, hardships, success and failures. Still, a dissenting opinion at least makes for an … I had never heard of Lisa See, but just about everyone I've mentioned this book to seems to have read at least one of her novels. For generations of Chinese, "Shangri La" was a place they called Gold Mountain, Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2016. etc. Most of the book covers this part of the family, though it does briefly touch upon the lives of the author's parents, and her trip to China before she wrote the book to meet other relatives. Other parts felt like laundry lists especially when she talked about the various businesses her relatives had. He opens several stores and marries an American women. Lisa See is a Chinese-American author. His son, Fong See, however, had a good head for business, and became one of the only respected Chinese citizens living in Chinatown. In "On Gold Mountain," published by St. Martin's Press this month, a man and woman meet, fall in bed and marry. If it weren't the choice of my book club, I could never have gotten through it. There's a problem loading this menu right now. It begins with the story of Fong See's immigration to the United States and his efforts to make himself a success. Keeping the memebers of the original See family straight was tough but trying to keep up with the second wives, third wives and fourth wives and their children was frustrating and boring. Immigrants are always looked at as a burden but they have always proven the doubters wrong in the past. He opens several stores and marries an American women. The book … Unique as a book written by one of several extraordinary "Caucasian" women who helped build businesses and make homes for their Chinese families. In this time of growing fear and resentment of immigrants, it is a sobering look at our past and how we are dealing with our future. It was written to commemorate the See dynasty. This was a fascinating read as I was very uninformed regarding the plight of the Chinese immigrants who helped to establish this country. You are American citizens. Despite some unanswered questions, a copiously researched history and a page-turning read. Detailed and illuminating view of the Chinese immigration experience in the United States. The family also experiences the "rags to riches" story of financial success in their new country, so the overall story is one of hopes and dreams fulfilled in addition to pain and loss. For me, this book club choice was boring with a capital B. This took me a long time to finish (as in, months), but i really enjoyed it. It also explains to me why SF Chinatown is the way it is today. Fong See and his wife escaped much of the prejudice that Chinese families faced because they had amassed quite a fortune. I will look for others like Lisa See's. Other parts felt like laundry lists especially when she talked about the various businesses her relatives had. You are Chinese American.'" This seems to be one of her earliest books and it's the immigration and assimilation story of the Chinese and Chinese mixed with Caucasion part of her family. A Different Mirror: Part 2, Chapter 8: Searching for Gold Mountain Summary & Analysis Next. Book reviews ★ Ghosts of Gold Mountain Gordon H. Chang Review by Sarojini Seupersad. When Fong See met a white woman with business sense who needed a job, and eventually became his wife, his store no longer sold underwear, but Chinese antiques that appealed to the wealthy whites. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in, Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2017. May 2019. Well, what a gold-mine I've discovered through this chance encounter. The Central Pacific company employed some 20,000 … I enjoy her writing style, her meticulous research, and her unfailing attempt to bring people, places, and periods of history that few people know much about to life. For me, this book club choice was boring with a capital B. So many Chinese men came, leaving their wives and family back in small Chinese villages, hoping to make a fortune. Club, i 'm reluctant to write our family 's story, like the on gold mountain book review House books highly. I suppose that their story is highly unique and new also kept finding myself thinking, `` how could have., you See the harsh treatment of inde d like to write our family 's story story, not tree... 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