Read Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown by Lauren Hilgers Online

Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown

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
Author :
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ISBN : 9780451496133
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 pages
Url Type : Home » Patriot » Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown

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Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown Reviews

  • Meag McKeron

    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

  • Laurie

    The author spent six years in China, and had been back in America two years when a contact from her expatriate time phoned her suddenly, saying he would see her soon in New York. This was totally unexpected, although she knew that Zhuang Liehong and his wife, Little Yan, were hoping to escape from China and seek political asylum in the United States. Zhuang was a political activist, seeking to reform the local system in Wukan, the village where he lived. Corruption was rife, and he wanted justic ...more

  • Fran

    Chinatown, in Flushing, Queens, has one of the largest Chinese populations outside Asia. Having lived in Flushing in the 1980's, I traveled on the #7 subway line and shopped on Main Street. Ethnically, the population was mostly of European descent. I was curious about the restructuring and changing ethnicity of my old haunts. "Patriot Number One" is a dual story, a story of a Chinese immigrant family and a recounting of the dwindling size of Wukan Village, Lufeng local government, in Guangdong P ...more

  • Elyse

    Update from this morning:

    There is nothing boring about Lauren Hilger’s writing - It’s raw- personal - and page turning eye-opening. I’m walking away with a better understanding - of ‘why’ citizens of China who do not speak a word of English - don’t have any family support in the United States waiting them - have little education under their belt - limited skills -still might do anything to escape- fight for Asylum in a complete foreign country where the struggles are mountains bigger than antici
    ...more

  • Dong Han

    This is one of my favorite non-fiction reads. This story of a Chinese family who seeks asylum in the United States, while highly personalized and deeply characterized, touches on universal themes of freedom, the meaning of family, immigrant striving, and the American dream. Reading this book humanized the bits and pieces you or I would read in the news about Chinese politics and shines a light on the story of Wukan village which deserves its proper telling in history. Highly highly recommend!

  • Hazel

    Being an chinese immigrant, I was immediately drawn

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister

    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

  • Katelyn

    Hilgers tells the true story of a Chinese man, Zhuang Liehong, who escapes to NYC after he helps lead the people of his village, Wukan, in revolt of the government. Leihong and his wife, Little Yan, discover how difficult it is to make it as undocumented, working class immigrants in America. Hilgers follows their daily lives including applying for asylum, and also tells their backstories and the story of Wukan. Powerful, timely and highly readable.