Korean American Books

Summaries and reviews of fiction and nonfiction books by Korean American authors,
books about Korean Americans and Korea, and Korean literature in English translation,
including some academic works and a sampling on the Korean War

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America, by Mary Paik Lee

Born in 1900, Lee’s aristocratic Christian family fled Korea in 1905, fearful of the plight of their famiy with Japan’s growing political influence and imminent colonial takeover. Her family were among the earliest emigres to California and her father was reduced to an agricultural laborer. They faced harsh living conditions and always mistaken for Japanese or Chinese because of U.S. ignorance about Korea at the time, she suffered much racism, particularly after Pearl Harbor. Her courageous spirit is the focus as she fought for civil rights and early social change. Detailed historical and contextual matter by Sucheng Chan enriches this memoir.

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