Last week I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I enjoy reading non-fiction history books because truth truly is stranger than fiction. One of the most interesting books I have read in the last few years is Mary Ting Yi Lui’s The Chinatown Trunk Mystery: Murder, Miscegenation, and Other Dangerous Encounters in Turn-of-the-Century New York City. Lui’s book unfolds like a mystery novel as she details the murder of Elsie Sigel, a white middle-class missionary woman working in New York’s early twentieth century Chinatown. What is most compelling is Lui’s analysis of the larger sexual, racial, and gender issues at play as New Yorker’s struggled to maintain segregated, racialized boundaries in a city experiencing rapid industrial expansion and population growth. Lui's scholarly analysis reveals the tense relationship that existed between native-born whites and Chinese immigrants during the era of Chinese exclusion and the stigmatization of interracial relationships in the Progressive era. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading historical non-fiction.Read more about Wendy Rouse Jorae's The Children of Chinatown.