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Hardcover Tea That Burns: A Family Memoir in Chinatown Book

ISBN: 068483989X

ISBN13: 9780684839899

Tea That Burns: A Family Memoir in Chinatown

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

In Tea That Burns, Bruce Edward Hall uses the stories of these and others to tell the history of Chinatown, starting with the tumultuous journey from an ancient empire ruled by the nine dragons of the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Tea That Refreshes

Tea That Burns was an unexpected pleasure to read. Not only is the writing fresh and engrossing, but the overall account of his family history back several generations is fascinating and rings of authencity. I have read numerous interesting Chinese-American memoirs, and what makes this one especially unique, is the ability of the author to connect the events occurring in U. S. History with concurrent events in China's history. This interweaving informs the reader in ways that are absent when the China context is not provided.As a second generation Chinese whose father was a paper son, and whose parents had an arranged marriage, I already knew many of the factual aspects of the book. However, I never could entirely understand the 'process' underlying the facts until I read Tea That Burns. The author filled in many of these gaps with his eye for detail. The documentation at the back of the book reveals that the author knows his Chinese immigration history thoroughly, but fortunately he does not bog the reader down by inserting an abundance of citations within the body of the text. I felt invigorated and refreshed after reading this excellent book.

Tea That Burns

Yes, it is a great book! I finish in one afternoon. I couldn't down the book once I started reading.... Mr. Hall provides a very rich history of the Chinatown in New York City during the mid-1800s period. He is succeeded to "enable the reader to smell history." In the book, Mr. Hall describes his father "denied" his identity of Chinese which shows the typical dilemma of the new generation of Chinese immigrants in the United States. However, I was "confused" by the subtitle, "a family memoir of chinatwon". I expect that the book mainly describes the author's family history, rather than concerns on the hisotry of Chinatown history.

More descendents of Chinese immigrants should share stories.

My mother grew up in the mining camps at the turn of the century, (1900) - it would be wonderful if more of the Chinese descendents would write their stories - it was surely a life of great hardship, and a history that needs to be shared. This is a wonderful story of family and life, societal views, prejudice and pain. Many expressions I heard throughout my childhood referred to the Chinese..."...didn't have a Chinaman's chance."..."...the rule was that the sun was not to set on any Chinese in town..." - what torment these people had to endure - yet we have very little literature on this subject. Mr. Hall has provided us with a wonderful, informative read and some true-life views that U.S.History certainly needs.

An appreciation for individual lineage.

Tea That Burns reaffirms my belief that despite the overwheming "homogenization" of our human culture, individuals everywhere cherish what makes them distinctly unique and continue to save it from permanent loss of memory.Bruce Edward Hall is an immensely accessible writer for people from all backgrounds. He allows readers their ignorance without castigating us for not knowing "all the facts" of our American Heritage. His descriptions of Chinatown and its founding members are incredibly vivid as if they jump out from the page and challenge you to a game of mahjong while sipping Tea That Burns. His sensitive approach to his realitives' eventual and unavoidable assimilation into American culture reveals the struggles of most of our ancestors. Tea That Burns does answer in a way the question: "How does one keep the torch of our lineage lit while playing the new game in the new world?" By embracing both cultures. The hodge-podge of Chinese-American life as lived in Hall's Chinatown and beyond of course...they get out as all groups flee their early roosting grounds...is one that all children of America can relate to...like the Chinese families that keep a kitchen shrine to Taoist gods, the Italian family serves the Canneloni next to the Turkey at Thanksgiving, the West Indian family serves the Roti and Goat at the Christmas table, the Puerto Rican mother teaches the song "El Coqui" to her child who insists on learning the english version as well.Thank you Bruce Edward Hall for a positive view of the life of Immigrant America...which is after all the life of ALL American's with the exception of the tribes that resided here when the big ships arrived. And even that is up for conjecture I read these days. "Who really owns the land under one's feet...focus on the realm of your heart."

Chinatown, Then and Now

In these waning days of "Midnight in the Garden," along comes another extraordinary tour of a place that is both strange and familiar, mystical and as near - in the case of "Tea That Burns" - as a stop or two on the subway. Bruce Hall uses the story of his family, early emigrants from a tiny village in southern China, to trace the changing fortunes of New York's Chinatown. From its founding in the worst slum of the city (the only place open to the exotic and often reviled newcomers in the mid-nineteenth century), through its rise as a refuge for a people consistently persecuted by American officialdom, to its status today as the largest Chinese community outside China, Chinatown has a unique place in the fabric of New York, both of and outside the larger city.Hall uses his status as both the descendant of some of Chinatown's most prominent figures and as a half-anglo outsider to extraordinary advantage, contrasting the community as seen by its residents and as viewed by sometimes scornful, often condescending white journalists, writers, and reformers. "Tea that Burns" weaves a colorful story of poverty and sudden wealth, of hard work and days of banqueting, and of the conflicting desire to retain the old world while assimilating the new. The book is filled with wonderful characters: tong fighters battling for territory, "power aunties" fighting over mah jong tiles, unscrupulous white tour guides taking rubes to opium dens and chop-suey parlors, and the men and women of Hall's own family, generations whose voices echo still in the frantic, narrow streets."Tea That Burns" works on many levels: as a meditation on the immigrant experience, as a history of a few square blocks too often taken for granted as little more than a tourist destination, and as a very personal memory-book. Its thoughtful, even moving, writing bring the joys and sorrows of the past vividly to life.
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