Cover for LAI: Chinese American Transnational Politics. Click for larger image

Chinese American Transnational Politics

Awards and Recognition:

Received an honorable mention for the Book Award in History from the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), 2012.

Essential essays from the master historian of Chinese political history

Born and raised in San Francisco, Lai was trained as an engineer but blazed a trail in the field of Asian American studies. Long before the field had any academic standing, he amassed an unparalleled body of source material on Chinese America and drew on his own transnational heritage and Chinese patriotism to explore the global Chinese experience.

In Chinese American Transnational Politics, Lai traces the shadowy history of Chinese leftism and the role of the Kuomintang of China in influencing affairs in America. With precision and insight, Lai penetrates the overly politicized portrayals of a history shaped by global alliances and enmities and the hard intolerance of the Cold War era. The result is a nuanced and singular account of how Chinese politics, migration to the United States, and Sino-U.S. relations were shaped by Chinese and Chinese American groups and organizations.

Lai revised and expanded his writings over more than thirty years as changing political climates allowed for greater acceptance of leftist activities and access to previously confidential documents. Drawing on Chinese- and English-language sources and echoing the strong loyalties and mobility of the activists and idealists he depicts, Lai delivers the most comprehensive treatment of Chinese transnational politics to date.

"A remarkable account of the history of Chinese American communities."--The Journal of Asian Studies

"A remarkable collection that shows the dedication, diligence, and accomplishments of Him Mark Lai, an amateur historian who devoted himself to researching and writing the history of Chinese American communities. Lai's command of the sources and his commitment to a faithful recording of Chinese American history are extraordinary."--Renqiu Yu, author of To Save China, To Save Ourselves: The Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance of New York

Known as "the dean of Chinese American studies," Him Mark Lai (19252009) was an independent historian and an adjunct professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University. His influential works included Becoming Chinese American: A History of Communities and Institutions. Madeline Y. Hsu is an associate professor of history and the director of the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.

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