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: 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
Although confusing at times, this book is a somewhat captivating look at what it's like to be a Chinese immigrant in New York; as well as what it's like to protest corrupt government officials in a village in China. Zhuang Liehong helped lead a protest in Wukan, Guangdong province in 2011, but then fled to the United States in 2014, with his wife Little Yan, when he feared being arrested. They left their infant son behind with Little Yan's family, hoping to send for him soon.
Author Lauren Hilger ...more
I won this in a first reads giveaway
This is a fantastic illustration of the modern immigrant experience. The author does a wonderful job of character development and showing how hard it is to start over in a new country where you don't know anyone and have to adjust to a whole new set of customs and social mores.
**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
I found the topic of Patriot Number One to be interesting, since I knew very little about political unrest in China or the struggles of Chinese immigrants in America. Through the story of Zhuang and Little Yan, along with some of their friends and acquaintances in America, readers get a taste of the harsh realities of immigrants struggling to become legal US residents, find work and affordable housing, and learn English. Hilgers does a good job of showing just how different and at times jarring ...more
5 bold stars to Patriot Number One, a nonfiction masterpiece! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
Lauren Hilgers is an American journalist who met a man named Zhuang while reporting on site in his village in China. Zhuang, a free-thinker, had been arrested for staging protests and was labeled a dissident. He called Lauren one day to say he would be traveling to America and had plans to abandon his tour group, along with his wife, and live in Chinatown in Flushing, New York.
I found the build-up of what would happen with ...more
Patriot Number One opens it's readers to the world of Flushings and the people living in its neighborhood who go unnoticed in our society trying to live out the American Dream or more so their version of the American Dream. The American Dream often times is elusive and the stories shared throughout the book seems unattainable and out of reach. With hard work, perseverance, strong will and determination the men and women make of their American Dream by working long hours in jobs they don't necess ...more
This is an enlightening look at the ordeal of immigrants in the United States, especially those from China. The focus is primarily on Zhuang and his wife, Little Han, and their sometimes rocky road to find a place for themselves while still trying to stay in touch with the protest movement that led them to flee their home. Hilgers also sheds an important light on the oppressive regime and lack of real freedom for the people of China, particularly those from the more rural areas of the country. I ...more