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Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco Paperback – November 15, 1995

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520088672 ISBN-10: 0520088670

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Yung (Chinese Women of America: A Pictorial History, Univ. of Washington Pr., 1986) has written a thorough and engrossing social history of Chinese women in San Francisco, from the turn of the century through the end of World War II. Using oral history interviews, unpublished autobiographies, government census reports, and English- and Chinese-language newspapers, Yung illuminates the larger canvas of social change with the stories of specific women from the first and second generations and their quests to improve their lives. The book is particularly valuable for its analysis of class differences within the Chinese community (merchant, peasant, bound servant, etc.), which created even more obstacles for Chinese women to overcome. This work offers engrossing reading; highly recommended for academic and public libraries.?Katharine L. Kan, Aiea P.L., Hawaii
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

"A stunning and sweeping piece of historical scholarship. It represents a major contribution to research in U.S. women's history."—Vicki L. Ruiz, author of Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950

"Judy Yung's latest and most impressive work demonstrates how an engaged, community-based scholar can reclaim an experience otherwise silenced."—John Kuo Wei Tchen, author of Genthe's Photographs of San Francisco's Old Chinatown

"Judy Yung possesses a humane and deep feeling for her subjects. A good listener, she allows these women to emerge in her pages as interesting and complex. Sweeping in chronology and comprehensive in scope, her study invites us to reach toward an intricate understanding of the making of our multicultural society."—Ronald Takaki, author of Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans

"Yung's book combines the richness of a community study, including engaging cameo biographies, with a broad survey of Chinese American women's history."—Mari Jo Buhle, author of Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920

"This is passionate and illuminating scholarship that adds a needed dimension to the discourse of women of color in general, and Chinese American women in particular."—Paula Giddings, author of When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America

"Students and teachers of U.S. women's history will be grateful for Yung's compelling overview of the history of Chinese American women and for the ways her focus on San Francisco brings women's community, family, and personal conflicts to life. A memorable and important book."—Kathryn Kish Sklar, author of Florence Kelley and Nation's Work: The Rise of Women's Political Culture, 1830-1900
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (November 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520088670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520088672
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Professor Emeritus Judy Yung is a second-generation Chinese American born and raised in San Francisco Chinatown. She received her Master's in Library Science and Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. She worked as a public librarian and community journalist before joining the faculty at UC Santa Cruz, where she taught courses in Asian American history, women's studies, oral history, and mixed race.

Dedicated to reclaiming Chinese American and women's history, she has written numerous books and articles about Chinese immigration and Chinese American women and served as a historical consultant to the Chinese Historical Society of America, the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, and many other historical and film projects through the years.

Judy Yung is the recipient of book awards from the Before Columbus Foundation, Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), and Western History Association; as well as the AAAS Lifetime Achievement Award and UC Santa Cruz's Excellence through Diversity Award and Excellence in Teaching Award.

She currently resides in Santa Cruz with her husband Eddie Fung and their Scottish Fold, Sparkie.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dizziey on October 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Judy Yung traces the social history of Chinese American women from 19th century to post World War II, how events and circumstances shape the women to be who they are today. She talks about the changing roles that these women played, from 19th century, when women played limited roles in society, how they were still influenced by traditional Chinese values to post war where they participated in the war effort, gained independence and had an active role in the society.
The main theme of this book is the discrimination they faced being Chinese and women. It is astounding to see how far they have come, from the days when Chinese school children were being called "Chinks" and were excluded from the mainstream society because of their gender and race.
This book would definitely appeal to those who come from minority communities and to those who are interested in ethnic, women or immigration history. I definitely recommend this book as it deals with issues that have so far been ignored in our textbooks, but definitely played a major role in shaping our society today.
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By Guangy on March 4, 2013
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not only chinese, but all women ought to stand up and voice their struggles and suffering. life is short, make it beautiful for the next generation.
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By D on February 17, 2013
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The text is a first in that it explores--through the lens of gender--the Chinese American women experience in San Francisco while relating the experiences to larger forces at play, namely anti-Chinese sentiment, racism, and legislation. Yung's work is meticulously researched; her interviews, in-depth and personal; her writing, precise, emotionally revealing, and scholarly. Effortlessly, she weaves first-person accounts into her narrative, the latter of which clearly dedicates chapters to various time periods. Insightful, I come back to this book frequently for leisure and work.
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I purchased this book for a class at University on women's social history. It is the first of its kind to follow the lives of Chinese-American women from the late 1800s when Congress placed strict regulations on Chinese immigration through the War Years. Compared to most history texts, I found the writing accessible and the stories intriguing. I do not consider myself a feminist, and I get annoyed when textbooks about women's history go preachy about their subject matter, and this book avoids that, maintaining academic distance without being remote in tone. This is a book I will actually probably keep after the course has ended because it sheds light on a minority group not often considered in the context of oppressed minorities, and does so in a way that leaves a lasting impression without putting the reader to sleep.
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I loved this book. I initially bought it for a research paper on Asian American history. I found it hard to start my paper because I just wanted to keep reading even after I'd found all the facts I needed! Judy Yung has a great mastery over language, ensuring that your reading experience is easy and pleasant; I found myself getting lost in the stories of the Chinese American women whose lives Yung documents. There aren't that many history books/textbooks that are page-turners, but this one is! If you are interested in putting real faces and true lives within the context of Chinese American women's history, this is the perfect book for you.
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