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Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 30, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Chan was the brainchild of Earl Derr Biggers, who grew up in Ohio and in 1925 wrote _The House Without a Key_, the book in which Charlie Chan first appeared.Read more ›
The downside of the book is it tends to ramble. The author gives background on everything. He tries to put everything in its context. The problem is that I enjoy the Charlie Chan books, but they are not great literature and Biggers is a good but not a great writer. The librarian in Biggers's hometown did not even know who Biggers was. So when Huang gives context for everything, he tends to lose the narrative thread. The net effect of these little side trips to explain everything is that I tended to read faster and faster. I skimmed the last few chapters of the book and I slowed down only when I saw something I liked.
In summary, if you want a book that is a pleasant rambling journey, this is the book. I read somewhere that C. S. Lewis hated going on walks with J. R. R. Tolkien. Lewis wanted to talk and get to the pub somewhat on time. Tolkien stopped constantly to enjoy the foliage, bugs or whatever. If you are a reader like Tolkien is a walker then this is the book for you.
The author includes his own story, thereby illuminating the journey taken by so many immigrants over the course of American history. Above all, I think the message here clearly is: Lighten up, know your history and have some fun while learning it!
As is frequently the case with books published in the U.S., the book jacket seems weird. The picture of Apana is strange and off-putting, while the photo of the Charlie Chan character is interesting but relegated to a lower corner. It reminds me of the terrible design selected for California as part of the commerative series of Quarters: it is not necessary to include every aspect of a State, or a book, in a small spece, because it (the book cover as well as the 25-cent coin) then becomes cramped and messy. Less is better, almost always when working in small spaces. And yes, people DO, in fact, judge a book by its cover while browsing ...
I shouldn't be side-tracked here, though, because I loved the book and, as a character says, it does make me want to go back to Hawaii again, and soon. This book gives us a lot of Hawaiian history, publishing history, Chinese history, etc., and all of it with a smile on our faces "for very wonderful book".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting and informative of late 19th and early 20th century HawaiiPublished 6 days ago by David O.
Fascinating book about a whole host of players surrounding the Chinese detective. The inspiration (Chang Apana), the author (Earl Biggers), the actor (Warner Oland), and the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stewart Bushman
Really enjoyed this book. I’m a big fan of the Charlie Chan books (not so much the movies) but there’s a very complicated background of racism, anti-Chinese sentiment, American... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Marla
Written by an Old-World-born-and-raised, Chinese-American professor, this "biography" of a favorite character of New-World fiction is an analysis of why Charlie Chan is NOT an... Read morePublished 7 months ago by T. L. H.
The reputation of the fictional detective Charlie Chan has fluctuated more extremely through the past century than that of perhaps any fictional character, from being wildly... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jon Corelis
I am not keen on critics, analysts and reviewers who blab about plot, characterization, developments and surprises in books and film and are anxious to shout the news, THE BUTLER... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Robin Snyder
A great book that my history book group in SF thoroughly enjoyed and discussed.Published 11 months ago by EKH