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Graphic Novel Review: Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America by David H.T. Wong

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Escape to Gold Mountain : A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America by David H.T. Wong is a graphic novel telling the story of the Chinese immigration to the United States and Canada. Mr. Wong is an Asia Canadian activist and an architect in Vancouver.

The graphic novel is laden with dishonor and misery as is the history of Chinese immigration to North America. The Chinese encountered lynches, subjugation racial, cultural and legal discrimination from both countries.

I do remember learning in school (but mainly on my own) about Chinese railroad workers in the United States. I did not realize how badly they were treated after they finished working and that the same thing happened in Canada. The graphic novel shows very clearly how badly these workers were mistreated as well as their ancestors who stuck around either unable or unwilling to go back to China.

This book is an excellent introduction to the complex issue of Chinese immigration as told from the Chinese point of view. The graphic novel covers the individual head tax (up to $500, a price of a house) to enter America as well as the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act that basically eliminated Chinese immigration as well as other legislation, lynchings and atrocities.

The story follows the Wong family through the generations and shows how strong family bonds helped survive economic hardships, discrimination and rough times all around. The author used historical resources, interviews as well as family stories to tell his tale.

The artwork is simple but effective enough to convey the information presented and move the story along. This is an introduction to the complex issue of immigration in general and Chinese immigration in particular. While I don’t feel I completely know the issue I certainly have much more knowledge about it then when I started and am encouraged to do some more research on the subject.

  • 256 pages
  • Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1551524767

Buy this graphic novel from Amazon.com

 

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