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Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans Paperback – October 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

In this groundbreaking anthology, first- and second-generation Hmong Americans -- the first to write creatively in English -- share their perspectives on being Hmong in America. In stories, poetry, essays, and drama, these writers address the common challenges of immigrants adapting to a new homeland: preserving ethnic identity and traditions, assimilating to and battling with the dominant culture, negotiating generational conflicts exacerbated by the clash of cultures, and developing new identities in multiracial America. Many pieces examine Hmong history and culture and the authors' experiences as Americans. Others comment on issues significant to the community: the role of women in a traditionally patriarchal culture, the effects of violence and abuse, the stories of Hmong military action in Laos during the Vietnam War. These writers don't pretend to provide a single story of the Hmong; instead, a multitude of voices emerge, some wrapped up in the past, others looking toward the future, where the notion of 'Hmong American' continues to evolve.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873514378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873514378
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Thao Worra on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
The pieces that are collected in here cover a very wide range of subjects and approaches.

It's a relief, compared to many other anthologies, which try to find an arbitrary common thread which runs through the works of particular writers, or that seem designed to showcase a who's who among the decade's latest MFA students.

Most of the pieces are actually readable, which sounds like a strange thing to say, unless you've been going through a lot of anthologies these days. It's just the right length so you're not overwhelmed with material, but you also get a good snapshot of where Hmong writing is headed, and how good it can get.

Not all of the pieces are perfect, mind you. Not all of them are family friendly. Some come from some pretty dark corners of the human mind, even. But for a culture and a community that is only just now starting to develop a written tradition, the results that are emerging are fascinating.

Some will have very clear influences from other major writers and schools of thought, while others are immensely original.

The great strength of this anthology, however, is that it does not allow you to walk away with a preset stereotype about who the Hmong are. You will see the great diversity of visions within the community, and you will walk away wanting more.

And in the end, isn't that what any good anthology should do?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ying Lee on May 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Finally the voices are coming together. For so long I've wondered if I was the only Hmong person plagued with the wonderful ailment of irrepressible thoughts that run through your mind and onto paper. Now I know that I am not alone. This is a great book, and it's so about time, that we produce a book about the Hmong people written by the Hmong people. I highly recommend it. Buy more then one copy, because it makes a great gift.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ying Lee on May 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Finally the voices are coming together. For so long I've wondered if I was the only Hmong person plagued with the wonderful ailment of irrepressible thoughts that run through your mind and onto paper. Now I know that I am not alone. This is a great book, and it's so about time that we produce a book about the Hmong people written by the Hmong people. I highly recommend it. Buy more then one copy, because it makes a great gift.
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Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans
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