Readers Praise Yin & Yang Press Books


 

 

Southern Fried Rice: Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South

 

Your book is a joy to read. It has a beautiful flow to it and an enriching quality that is easier to feel than it is to describe. Couched in humor, it deals with the painful and serious matter of day-to-day struggles of existence of a couple who came here with hardly anything more than faith in their hearts and steel in their spines.   Krishan Saxena, Kensington, California


Your book is the one that I had promised myself that I would write one day, but you went ahead and wrote it. You did a wonderful job!      Henry Tom, Frederick, Maryland


Thank you for telling your story in such an engaging manner.  While your story is personal it is also universal because of its working class foundation laced with layers of Chinese ethnicity, family structure and dynamics, and the specificity of the South.      Flo Oy Wong, Artist, Sunnyvale, California


Enjoyed very much reading your family history revealing a unique experience yet sharing many of the same problems of families in Chinese laundries. Yours is one of the few written accounts of the many family-run laundries in the U. S. Thank you for the careful documentation of this history, which would be otherwise forgotten.     Tunney Lee, Boston, Mass.


“Southern Fried Rice” is a well-written and factually documented memoir that gave me insight into the lives of Chinese in the South, especially those living where there were no other Chinese, as you did in Macon. Your move to San Francisco must have been as much of a cultural shock for you as it was for me, an African American moving to the Bay Area from Memphis.    Leatha Ruppert, Cotati, California


I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I learned much that will hopefully give me some leads in searching for information on my paternal grandfather… even if I never find anything, your book has allowed me to gain some insight into what his life might have been life, what he might have experienced as the only Chinese in St. Augustine, FL, and how he came to be there. C. M.


I truly appreciated your sharing your personal story. It gave me a window into what life might have been like for my own family even though they like arrived in the 1870s. I devoured your book with great interest!  I was reading with fingers crossed that perhaps a resource might pop up that might aid me in finding additional documentation of my ancestor(s).  J. C.


“Riveting – couldn’t put the book down until it was finished – it mirrored many of my own childhood experiences growing up in New Zealand in the 50s. The Chinese immigrant experience must have been the same the world over.”       Helen Wong, Auckland, New Zealand


I read this book in a week, which is fast for me. I was fascinated in this story of Chinese Americans in the deep south in contrast to my own experiences living in Seattle. There are a lot of similarities but certainly different. This book is scholarly with many sources cited.  Tony Chinn


I very much enjoyed your presentation yesterday in Monterey Park.  I completely understood your sense of “not being Chinese enough.“ Not only was I the ONLY Chinese kid in Baton Rouge, La. (father was a grad student @ LSU), I was also an only child, in a typical Chinese family (be seen but not heard), so I led a very lonely existence.


   I read and enjoyed “Southern Fried Rice.”   It is a readable, first-hand account of his life growing up in Macon, with a chapter on the family’s move to San Francisco in the 50s ... Research, footnotes, and photos enhance his story.   Jay



 

 

Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain


I have to admit I was fascinated with both books,_the text, and particularly the pictures, brought back memories of my younger days and my parents.  I grew up knowing only the few Chinese laundries in the Washington DC area, and some of our cousins_ in New York.  But I never thought much about the common threads until I started looking through your books. Thanks for the education and the enlightenment!  I would certainly like to hear about your future works and other Chinese American heritage pursuits that you believe are of interest.  Get M.  


 

Jung traces about one hundred years of Chinese-American history in an excellent memoir that is inspiring yet told with a great underlying sense of humor.  Students of Chinese language and culture will find the Cantonese references and photos spread throughout to be fascinating easter eggs. For example, one of the more interesting, subtle things I noticed was the picture of a homework exercise from the author's mother's English composition book on p191 where various English words were "sounded out" using Chinese characters as a Cantonese phonetic basis which is precisely what someone learning such a different and unfamiliar writing system as the Latin alphabet would do. Regardless of one's background with Chinese, fans of history will find this a fascinating, fun read that is hard to put down: I myself read it in one sitting. Jung bats a 1.000 with this one, bravo!


 I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and haven't come across such an interesting and well-researched book on American Chinese history since "The Mississippi Chinese" by Loewen.  Well done!  One question I do have deals strangely enough with the cover which shows various images of the price list from Joe's Laundry. Some of those words (such as yau4saam1 oil+clothing for "overalls") I've never seen before though semantically they make sense. Are some of those words from another Cantonese dialect (e.g., Sei Yap rather than HK/GZ) or are they special two character laundry jargon or shorthand?


...am now reading your second book on "Chinese Laundries." I understand that you are working on your third book "Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton".... I like your writing style. It is clear and easy to read.  J. T.


I appreciated that you wrote this book, because it has given me a deeper perspective in what it means to be a second generation Chinese American of emigrant parents who operated a Chinese laundry. I understand that all minorities that emigrated to the United States in search of a better life had their struggles with survival and discrimination, this makes me not only value and respect my parents, but for other emigrant parents who desired their children to be prosperous.


It is fabulous that you have compiled stories of Chinese laundry life within North America,  It is amazing to learn how others grew up with similar experiences…the excerpts made me both laugh and cry. One thing for sure is that growing up in a Chinese laundry is colourful and interesting. Working class ethnic culture is so sur-real.  Elwin Xie, Vancouver


Congratulations on a landmark achievement. We know how much work you put into this volume and I am highly honored to be a small part of your accomplishment. Thank you so much for preserving this part of history. I think you will be long remembered for your work.  Ken Lee, Ohio State University.

 


I have just now finished reading your books and it was a delightful ambience down memory lane. Southern Fried Rice evoked many memories of when we lived in Athens (Ga),.. Chinese Laundries is a very readable history of a people who could endure and overcome any hardships...  Tommy Nakayama


I appreciated that you wrote this book, because it has given me a deeper perspective in what it means to be a second generation Chinese American of emigrant parents who operated a Chinese laundry. I understand that all minorities that emigrated to the United States in search of a better life had their struggles with survival and discrimination, this makes me not only value and respect my parents, but for other emigrant parents who desired their children to be prosperous.


The fascination is that I too am Chinese American born in the deep south of Miami, Florida where my mother & father started out with a Chinese Laundry ending up with a grocery store. Margaret

 


---

After reading personal and brilliantly written accounts of the blood, sweat, and toil that Chinese Americans endured in the development of the laundry empire in America, you will never feel the same way about the mundane chore of loading and unloading your washer/dryer again. This book doesn't just take you through the historical trajectory of the occupation oft-times associated with Chinese immigrants; it's the story of a people--of families who believe in the value of hard work and determination, and the undying hope of a brighter future. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone of Chinese decent; more importantly, it is for anyone who has a dream.    Kathy W.

 


 

Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton: Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers

 


 

Thanks for all your hard work and research that has gone into writing and publishing this book. It has been quite interesting seeing the work develop and finally come into full fruition. I know that there has been much thought and rethinking on what and who to include in this work. I think you have a unique perspective, being Chinese and growing up in the south, but not in the MS Delta. I trust that your journey through the Delta this past Fall was beneficial in gaining insight into the place and the people of this area. Gilroy Chow


 

I liked your style of writing and I thought your book was an accurate history of the Chinese in the Delta region.  Even though I grew up in Arkansas , my family knew many Chinese that did live in Mississippi and their struggles.  I think the Chinese in Arkansas faired much better than the Chinese in Mississippi. I was indeed pleased that you presented a very accurate view of what struggles the Chinese did endure but ultimately they were able to triumph over their difficult circumstances.  I appreciated that the ending of your book left the reader with a very positive view of the new generation of Chinese in America . M. G. 


"... your book presents the most definitive and accurate account of the Chinese in the Ms Delta--what it was like to be Chinese and growing up in the segregated South during that time. Thanks for all your time and effort in researching and telling the story of the Ms Chinese Grocers in the Land of Cotton." Peter Joe


"Thank you for writing this book especially so that current and future young people with roots in the South will know about their roots..."


"What a juicy read! The hard work, the social isolation, the networking, the solutions of problems such as education in a segregated society which never had them in mind - it's mind-boggling! And the similarities and differences in the Chinese relationships with whites as opposed to blacks - fascinating! Your books are a significant contribution to the social history of this nation."   Nan McGehee


"Wow!  Impressive!  I think it takes an outsider to truly appreciate it.  We're too close to it to really appreciate what a great social history it is."


I am a friend of most of the people you interviewed in your book.  I now reside in San Francisco.
I recently finished reading your book and felt I was right among the people you interviewed. 
It's the best book written about the Chinese in the
Mississippi Delta


"Thanks for all you have done for Chinese Americans. I know that if my father were still alive, he would be devouring all your books and research."


Great way to learn family history

A very good read. As a granddaughter of store owners, this book was a fascinating look at what life was like for my grandparents and mother. Indirectly, I learned a lot about my family. I felt that I knew very little about my mother's childhood, but now I have a rich context with which to insert the stories I have heard.  C. Acharya


Great Expectations

   As a 1st generation Chinese-American who grew up in the Mississippi Delta during the 50's, I was disappointed to find John Jung's book similiar in theme to Jim Lowen's book, "Mississippi Chinese, Between Black & White." I had hoped to find in more detail, in narrative, the struggles of the early Chinese; instead, I sense their comments got lost in translation, i.e., absent was the emotional dimension. 
  
 Kathryn Stockett's book, "The Help," although fiction, would have been a perfect avenue to depict the Chinese in Mississippi. Except for pull-out quotes from Bobby Moon and others, I didn't get the real sense of struggle, prejudice, frustration -- or any of the emotive characteristics confronting the Chinese. The events were a recitation of...the events.  
    This is not to say that "Chopsticks," is not a good read. I commend Jung for his efforts to capture this fading corner of American
 society. In the next few years, little of the original voices will be left to speak of the Chinese and the making of America. And for this I congratulate him for adding another bookmark on behalf of Chinese in Mississippi. 

Frank Lee Shaw, MS ('46-60) 


John Jung Hits a Home Run,

(I was Dr. John Jung's primary consultant for this book about my community in the Mississippi Delta.) 
When Dr. Jung contacted me after having read my internet story entitled "Pilgrimage to China" on [...] to tell me of his plans to write a book about my community I was more than eager for someone of Dr. Jung's stature and reputation to do such a project. I had already read his two books about the North American Chinese hand laundries and was familiar with his works. His final product, in my opinion, was a home run because he went to great lengths to gather so many accounts from many, many sources to present a wide spectrum of differing views about life in the Mississippi Delta. The views presented were not always the most flattering to the Delta Chinese either but he tried to be even-handed in the presentations. On balance this is the best study to-date of my community and I will be forever grateful for his wonderful  work which  exceeded all of my expectations.  Bobby Joe Moon ( Boyle/Cleveland MS 1944-1965)


Since I grew up near the Mississippi Delta and am of Chinese descent, I knew many of the families that were included in this book. This brought back a lot a fond memories for me and was very informative. Some things I did not know about the families mentioned. I will treasure this find.  M. Rice


 

 

Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants


You've made some amazing observations, wrote them down with sincerity, and I wholeheartedly support you on it.  You've brought back some fond memories and I'm sure it will touch other folks like myself that have gone through it.  Dave  Chow


This retired psychology prof. is devoting himself to Chinese American history. Met him at a talk in Vancouver. Brings back childhood memories as most of the people interviewed are from Toisan like my family. We could always go into a new town, drop in at a Chinese restaurant and be welcomed. Dad would run out and say, "they're cousins!" Now I know he meant they were from Toisan.  It also is a nice little account on the history of restaurants in America and changing trends.   Rosemary Eng



 "When reading Sweet and Sour, I was struck by how it is both a work of scholarship and a documentation of the experience of Chinese restaurant workers. It serves to teach us about their experiences on multiple levels."   Heather Lee, Brown University


I am reading your delightful book, Sweet and Sour.  I especially like the "Insider Perspectives" section.  Those first-hand experiences can generate a lot of potentially testable hypotheses about how the Chinese were able to provision their remote restaurants with exotic ingredients while other ethnic groups could not.
Susan B. Carter, University of California, Riverside


 

John Jung was hilarious in his frankness of the Chinese way of not adorning their restaurants and adapting whatever building they rented.


I bought two books (Chinese Laundries  ,… Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants) that night, then ordered the 3rd  one online (Southern Fried Rice)  later on.  Haven’t been able to put them down.



As a first generation Chinese growing up in my parents' restaurant, I want to say thank you for your great book: Sweet and Sour.   Jin Lee

 


 

A Chinese American Odyssey: How A Retired Psychologist Makes a Hit as a Historian




Considering writing a memoir or a collection of memories? Treat yourself to John Jung's A CHINESE AMERICAN ODYSSEY before you start outlining. Not only does Jung give the back-story of his earlier books (Southern Fried Rice; Sweet and Sour; and more), but he also provides insight into the research, writing, and publishing process for independent authors in particular. And he shows how a deep interest in a topic and a willingness to gather others' experiences can lead to fresh insight in contemporary history. Makes a good gift, too!  E.Kanell

This book is helpful if you want to learn how to self-publish and promote a book, change careers or learn about Chinese-American history.
John Jung’s writing style is folksy, with a lot of humor. He tells how he retired from his job as a psychology professor and became an author of four books about Chinese American history (this is his fifth).


Dr. John Jung's "A Chinese American Odyssey" is wonderful work of our Chinese American experience in Gold Mountain. He offers many historical and ancestral gems of the Chinese in America. His writing style is folksy as well as intimate. His memoir truly reflects my similar journey as a Bamboo on Gold Mountain. Another literary masterpiece by Dr. John Jung, a true giant.   Raymond D. Chong

 

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