Driven Out: Book summary and reviews of Driven Out by Jean Pfaelzer

Driven Out

The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans

by Jean Pfaelzer

Driven Out by Jean Pfaelzer

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Book Summary

The brutal and systematic “ethnic cleansing” of Chinese Americans in California and the Pacific Northwest in the second half of the nineteenth century is a shocking–and virtually unexplored–chapter of American history. Driven Out unearths this forgotten episode in our nation’s past. Drawing on years of groundbreaking research, Jean Pfaelzer reveals how, beginning in 1848, lawless citizens and duplicitous politicians purged dozens of communities of thousands of Chinese residents–and how the victims bravely fought back. In town after town, as races and classes were pitted against one another in the raw and anarchistic West, Chinese miners and merchants, lumberjacks and field workers, prostitutes and merchants’ wives, were gathered up at gunpoint and marched out of town, sometimes thrown into railroad cars along the very tracks they had built.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Too few Americans have any idea that these events mark the nation's past. Pfaelzer capably reconstructs a shameful history." - Kirkus.

"She compares the expulsions to those in Nazi Germany, as well as modern Rwanda and Bosnia, and puts the Driven Out campaign into the broader context of American racism." - Booklist.

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