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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871 » User review

Racism in early Los Angeles

  • Aug 20, 2012
This is another of those books that reveal events in our country's history that are relatively unknown to most Americans. In particular, this recounts the unnecessary murder of many Chinese people by a mob of Angelinos in 1871.

The story takes the reader back to the time when conditions in China compelled young men (in particular) to leave their villages, journey to the United States, and work very hard to acquire enough money to return to China and live a very comfortable life. Most of these folks ended up in California, particularly in San Francisco, but also some in Los Angeles, which at that time was a small village with a small population.

These hard workers took on many demanding jobs, especially founding laundry facilities. Unfortunately, there were those native citizens who resented these Chinese, some for the possibility that they would take away jobs from other citizens, but the majority motivated purely by racial hatred.

The situation became more and more serious as time went along, until it exploded in several hours of murder and mayhem that cost the lives of Chinese folk, many, if not most, only guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were those citizens, however, who did attempt to stop the violence, and some who rescued Chinese people and hid them in their homes.

A grand jury indicted several men for their actions on the night of the riot, and the District Attorney brought charges, and began trials. The reader will have to read the book to find out what happened ultimately, but this is a sad stain on our history, added to many other sad stains that resulted from hatred of many different groups of folks who were "different", either in looks, race or religion.

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August 21, 2012
Very profound story!
About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #93
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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Scott Zeschis the author ofThe Captured, which won the 2007 Ray Allen Billington Award and TCU Texas Book Award. He lives in Mason County, Texas, and New York City.
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