Fortunate Sons: The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an American Civilization

Liel Leibovitz, Author, Matthew Miller, Author
Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller, Norton, $27.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-07004-0
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-393-08033-9
Paperback - 318 pages - 978-0-393-34230-7
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With its surging storyline, extraordinary events, and depth of character, this gripping tale of 120 Chinese boys sent to America—and scattered about New England—in 1872 reads more like a novel than an obscure slice of history. Leibovitz and Miller chronicle an unknown yet transformative period in the relationship between an arcane East and a progressive West. Slivers from diaries and correspondence record encounters the boys enjoyed with President Grant, life in the same New England community Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe called home, and China’s reluctance to accept the returning over-confident "Americanized" citizens. Nevertheless, this education, combined with their ambition and bond, translates to a 'Cantonese Clique’ that filters into high-profile government positions in China and results in revolutions in industry and international relations. Chaotic regal battles and merciless wars lead to tragedy, but the tenacity and hope on displayed bring slow reform and triumph. Though the boys were well equipped with the tools for progress, '’the problems they faced are the problems still facing China today,’’ and their tale stands as a unique, engrossing, and affecting chronicle. (Feb.)
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