Chinese St. Louis offers the first empirical study of a Midwestern Chinese American community from its nineteenth-century origins to the present. As in many cities, Chinese newcomers were soon segregated in an enclave; in St. Louis the enclave was called "Hop Alley." Huping Ling shows how, over time, the community grew and dispersed until it was no longer marked by physical boundaries. She argues that the St. Louis experience departs from the standard models of Chinese settlement in urban areas, which are based on studies of coastal cities. Developing the concept of a cultural community, Ling shows how Chinese Americans in St. Louis have formed and maintained cultural institutions and organizations for social and political purposes throughout the city, which serve as the community's infrastructure.Thus the history of Chinese Americans in St. Louis more closely parallels that of other urban ethnic groups and offers new insight into the range of adaptation and assimilation experience in the United States. Huping Ling is Associate Professor of History at Truman State University and the author of "Surviving on the Gold Mountain: A History of Chinese American Women and Their Lives".
"Chinese St. Louis is one of the important case studies on the Chinese American community in recent years which provides a firsthand microanalysis of one Chinese community in the United States. The book gives a vivid picture of a changing Chinese community in heartland America. It is a detailed history of the first 100 years of the Chinese Americans living in 'hop alley' in St. Louis." The Journal of Chinese Overseas "[Ling's] book offers an interesting look at the beginnings of 'Hop Alley'..." The Journal of American Ethnic History "Chinese St. Louis is a notable and much needed addition to the growing field of Chinese American Studies..[T]his book provides the only comprehensive historic account of a Chinese American urban and suburban settlement in the Midwest.[Ling's] use of documentation creates a vivid and artful picture of Chinese immigrant life." The Journal of American History "a rewarding read, partly for the nuanced presentation of the Chinese presence in one specific locale, but partly also as insight to varieties of immigrant issues and presences across the United States." Missio Apostolica "Ling provides a detailed account of the Chinese-American community of a few hundred people in St. Louis in the period between the 1870s and the 1960s. Ling's remarkable research brings Hop Alley to life. Ling's model for a cultural community is well established and solidly supported. The book is an appropriate read for those in the fields of ethnic and immigration history, community and public policy studies, cultural and diasporic studies and in American and Chinese history." American Historical Review "Chinese St. Louis provides a much-needed addition to the published literature about Chinese Americans. It skillfully places the Chinese in St. Louis in the context of urban history and the Chinese American historiography. Ling's presentation of the 'cultural community' is important, as it will help to further thinking about Chinese communities that are not in the form of traditional Chinatowns. It is a wonderful study, rich with insight and sophistication." --Franklin Ng, California State University at Fresno "Chinese St. Louis is an important contribution to the rapidly growing field of Chinese American studies...the book is highly informative about the life and social background of both historical and contemporary Chinese immigrants." The Journal of Asian American Studies