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A Chinese American Odyssey

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About the author:
I grew up in the only Chinese family in Macon, Georgia, where I was born in 1937. Our family ran a laundry above we lived in two small rooms. We finally moved to San Francisco in the early 1950s because our parents wanted their children to live among Chinese people. I eventually earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Northwestern University and then had a 40 year career as a professor at California State University, Long Beach.
In retirement, I began to study the life experiences of Chinese immigrants like my parents who endured harsh lives and suffered racial prejudices. "Southern Fried Rice: Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South" described what our family experienced living in the South during the Jim Crow era. The interest that this book generated led me to write other books about the Chinese American experience. "Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain" is a social history of the important role that these businesses that once dotted the landscape held for the economic survival of Chinese immigrants. "Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton: Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers" examines the similar role of this family occupation for Chinese in the delta. "Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants" is a social history of Chinese family restaurants and includes personal stories of children's role in helping parents run their restaurants. "A Chinese American Odyssey" is a writing memoir about the process and experience of how I, a psychology professor, reinvented myself in retirement to become a public historian of Chinese in America.

A Chinese American Odyssey

How a Retired Psychologist Makes a Hit as a Historian

Authored by John Jung

This memoir describes the discoveries, many unexpected, when a Chinese American psychology professor retires and reinvents himself as a public historian of Chinese in America... a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the processes involved in researching, writing, publishing, and promoting books. Writers of books on any topic will find useful information.

Academic Reviews

John Jung is a phenomenon: a career academic turned "outsider" scholar, he has managed to reshape our understanding of the Chinese American experience by his novel historical studies.. Part memoir, part how-to book, it provides a detailed engaging study of Jung's transformation from a psychologist into a historian
Greg Robinson, Professor of History, University of Quebec.

A fascinating book about a retirement journey that started with the author's memoir about growing up in a laundry in Macon, GA., where his family were the only Chinese. He next published three more rich and important books about Chinese immigrants in North America.
... documents Jung's fascinating metamorphosis as he retired from psychology to enter and become an important voice in Chinese American history. And John's richly contextualized tales of his unique experiences as a Chinese makes the book an insightful cultural biography.
Yong Chen, Professor of History, University of California, Irvine.

...Jung's books have been the epitome of good scholarship: his writing informs the reader and compels us to want more beauty and take more time for reflection in our own lives. He has mastered humanizing the Chinese American experience by placing it in a Southern context and, in doing so, humanizes us all by complicating the South we think we know.
...Jung demonstrates the intellectual power of creative scholarship and his generous spirit offers practical guidance for those who want to move ahead with telling their own story.
Stephanie Y. Evans,
Chair, African American Studies, Africana Women's Studies, and History Clark Atlanta University

John Jung has done it again. His quirky memoir is a kaleidoscopic view of Chinese American history from inside out and outside in.
Mel Brown, Chinese Heart of Texas: The San Antonio Community 1875-1975.

John Jung is the epitome of a retiree who never fades away. He just changed his academic focus to expand his horizons into the field of Chinese American social history, and expose the struggles and triumphs of the second and third generations of laundry operators and restaurateurs -
Sylvia Sun Minnick, SAMFOW: The San Joaquin Chinese Legacy.

Reader Reviews

Enjoyable, Informative, and a Pleasure to Explore
By E. Kanell
Considering writing a memoir or a collection of memories? Treat yourself to A CHINESE AMERICAN ODYSSEY before you start. Not only does Jung give the back-story of his earlier books (Southern Fried Rice; Sweet and Sour), but he also provides insight into the research, writing, and publishing process for independent authors in particular. And he shows how a deep interest in a topic and a willingness to gather others' experiences can lead to fresh insight in contemporary history.

This book is helpful if you want to learn how to self-publish and promote a book, change careers or learn about Chinese-American history.
John Jung's writing style is folksy, with a lot of humor. He tells how he retired from his job as a psychology professor and became an author of four books about Chinese American history (this is his fifth).

His Odyssey Is My Journey On Gold Mountain.
By Raymond D. Chong on February 17, 2015

Dr. John Jung's "A Chinese American Odyssey" is wonderful work of our Chinese American experience in Gold Mountain. He offers many historical and ancestral gems of the Chinese in America. His writing style is folksy as well as intimate. His memoir truly reflects my similar journey as a Bamboo on Gold Mountain. Another literary masterpiece by Dr. John Jung, a true giant.

Publication Date:
1502473658 / 9781502473653
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

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