Milton Meltzer

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The next thing to slave labor, Chinese workers were imported by the thousands to build the Western end of the transcontinental railroad. They were paid less than whites and worked longer hours (twelve a day), were forcibly prevented from leaving and exposed to avalanches, explosives, and other dangers which killed 1200 (ten percent) of them during the project…. [In The Chinese Americans] Meltzer reveals all this with proper force…. Meltzer's own memories of childhood rhymes (of the "chinky chinky chinaman" variety) occasions a patient lecture on racial stereotypes in very simple terms before he takes Chinese American history up to today's sweatshops and tongs and the need, again, for alliance with others working for equality. Written for easy assimilation, but with no loss of impact and a contained indignation that gives it an edge over other entries at this level. (pp. 80-1)

A review of "The Chinese Americans," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1981 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLIX, No. 2, January 15, 1981, pp. 80-1.

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