From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement

Paula Yoo. Norton Young Readers, $19.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-324-00287-1
In 1982 Detroit, anti–Asian American sentiment is on the rise as Japanese car companies are purported to threaten the livelihoods of U.S. autoworkers. After autoworker Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz, both white, kill Chinese American Vincent Chin, they plead guilty to his manslaughter but are let off with a lenient sentence. Serving “as a wake-up call for Asian America,” the incident spurs outrage—and action—in the Asian American community. Through in-person interviews, court transcripts, and present-day accounts, Yoo’s YA nonfiction debut exhaustively details Chin’s murder and carefully considers its resulting impact. Eyewitness accounts provide clarity, and detailed chronicling of the trials elicits justified frustration on the final verdict. In six well-structured parts, suspenseful narration illuminates Chin’s personal life, his gruesome death, the trials’ obstacles, and Chin’s legacy; well-integrated news clippings and emotive photographs imbue events with a hard-hitting real-time feel. This resonant, painstakingly recreated historical account features a timely afterword spotlighting the rise in anti-AAPI violence amid the Covid-19 pandemic, drawing parallels between this haunting account of a 40-year-old crime to present-day atrocities. Back matter includes a timeline, notes, list of sources, and suggestions for further reading. Ages 14–up. Agent: Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 04/22/2021
Release date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Children's
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