Elliott Young’s Alien Nation looks at two simultaneous processes fundamental to the history of Chinese immigration to the Americas. National governments throughout the Americas considered the Chinese as inassimilable and undesirable outsiders. At the same time, Chinese migrants established networks and cooperated across borders to evade migration controls and gain entry into the Americas.

Relying on archival and published primary sources from seven countries in North America and Europe, Young’s work builds on and complements national-level histories of Chinese immigrants in Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. The book’s hemispheric and global scope allows Young to track common patterns in Chinese migration to the Americas. While geographically and chronologically expansive, Young’s work does not lose sight of the stories of individual migrants. Throughout the book, Young privileges the agency of migrants who may be viewed as victims, whether as coerced coolies who led mutinies in protest of their...

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