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Bulletproof Buddhists and Other Essays (Intersections: Asian and Pacific Hardcover – April, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Intersections
  • Hardcover: 431 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Hawaii Pr (April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824819993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824819996
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,112,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Whether he is writing about a trip to Cuba he took as a student during the 1960s, his visits with the inhabitants of the Chinatowns along the California-Baja California border, interviews with a white police officer in San Diego who has succeeded in reducing tensions between Cambodian and Laotian youth gangs there or his experiences at a writers' conference in Singapore, Chin tends to portray everyone, and everything, in this collection of six essays, in terms of race, ethnicity and cultural stereotypes. Chin heaps scorn not only on whites (Anglos) but also on Asians in Singapore (a city whose culture he disdains), and especially on Chinese American writers whom Chin accuses of having sold out to white American culture and values. Waving about classic texts, in particular Sun Tzu's The Art of War, he denigrates those who like Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan. "They like the idea of falsifying Chinese culture in the name of art and Westernization. They are admitted and joyous white supremacists." Throughout, Chin, who prefers to be referred to as a Chinaman rather than a Chinese American, makes references to being someone without "a sense of home." The problems of the ethnically displaced and the merits of cultural diversity versus assimilation are important issues. The tone of Chin's arguments against the desirability and possibility of assimilation is emotional rather than intellectual, bitterly accusatory rather than rational. Unfortunately that will probably limit his book to preachifying to the converted.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Of these six essays, four discuss the Asian experience, particularly that of the Chinese in California; the other two discuss the author's trip to Cuba in 1962 and impressions of Singapore on a trip to a writers' conference in 1994. The personal stories of Asian gangs and those of early, hard-working immigrants have a resounding poignancy, especially since many are drawn from interviews. Yet the rantings about various topics (bigotry, storytelling, Chinese American authors, stereotyping, Singapore, malls, etc.) often seem mean-spirited and incomplete. In addition, they are often dated: who thinks of Chinese as Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu types these days? Chin, author of the novel Donald Duk (Coffee House, 1991) and the play The Chickencoop Chinaman, among other works, has a hip, fluent, fast-paced style, but we look forward to his next novel, not his essays.AKitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
There is no question that when it comes to specific, focused cultural criticism, Frank Chin has the task nailed down. I don't know the time frame spanned by these essays, but in terms of content they cover all the bases. Any student of Asian-American history and culture can profit from Chin's sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes frightfully serious analysis of several aspects of the Asian-American experience. Chin deals with immigration/migration; gang subcultures; folk history and mythology; and others. But the thing that makes this book so impressive, beyond its coverage, is Chin's writing style -- fast and loose, comfortable and razor-sharp. The jacket describes him as a "literary gangster" -- never have I heard a more apt description of an author. He wrangles words from the oral histories he obtains and makes them work for him. But he is a respectful gangster -- the subjects of his interviews seem open, warm to him and to his neverending questions. The text can get heavy at times, but this is a function of the content it taps. A very, very powerful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love the essays of Frank Chin. I just wished that the editor would put in "Racist Love" in this anthology. Anyway, this book is a treat because you'll have a commentary of Sun Tzu's ART OF WAR. Over and over again I've heard Chin mention how well ART OF WAR reflects Asian thinking. Well, it's now available to you guys, written by Frank Chin himself!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Benson Low on December 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Frank Chin's collection of essays is magnificent. The book is a course in itself on the authenticity of the Chinese-American experience in American culture. Chin's ideas are well researched, even scholarly in origin, but they are presented in ways that are eminently accessible. Each of the essays is provocative of the reader's thinking. I loved the essay on "Lowe Hoy & the 3 Legged Toad", for its exposition of strategy in Chinese social experience, and for its use of authentic Cantonese colloquialisms in his interviewees' speech.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this on the strength of the reviews here. I know I'm supposed to read his work which is important. However, to my surprise, I found that his writing is all over the place and sounds mostly like bitter ranting. He makes fun of everyone and everything and thinks that he is the only person in the room who is right. It's a rather unpleasant feeling being in the company of these words, so I can't even bring myself to finish reading it. I'll be parking it on the shelf until someone calm and rational can explain to me why I have to read this author and why it is "good for me".
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