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The Chinese in turn-of-the-last-century New York were mostly immigrant peasants and shopkeepers who worked as laundrymen, cigar makers, and domestics. They gravitated to lower Manhattan and lived as Chinese an existence as possible, their few diversions - gambling, opium, and prostitution - available but, sadly, illegal. It didn't take long before one resourceful merchant saw a golden opportunity to feather his nest by positioning himself squarely between the vice dens and the police charged with shutting them down.
A mesmerizing true story, Scott D. Seligman's Tong Wars roars through three decades of turmoil, with characters ranging from gangsters and drug lords to reformers and do-gooders to judges, prosecutors, cops, and politicians of every stripe and color.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Charles on 03-02-17
Very interesting read
This book was filled with lots of good information but the narrative was dry. There were moments when when Chinatown felt alive and something that you could picture and then they were others where things were just a recounting of police reports.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Nurture Learners and Able Observers on 05-21-18
Valuable Imformation! Fascinating History.
History of early New York City that is fascinating. The exploitation and stigmatism of the Chinese was unholy. The press played a great part in making life here for Chinese immigrants unbearable and barely livable. I was not even aware of the "Chinese Exclusion Act" passed in 1882 in an attempt at ethnic cleansing. The storytelling is like music and the narration superb. This is someplace you have never been before.