Summer Reading B2G1 Free
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Lists | July 16, 2015

    Annie Liontas: IMG "You Want Me to Smell My Fingers?": Five Unforgettable Greek Idioms



    The word "idiom" originates in the Greek word ídios ("one's own") and means "special feature" or "special phrasing." Idioms are peculiar because,... Continue »
    1. $18.20 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      Let Me Explain You

      Annie Liontas 9781476789088

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$14.00
List price: $27.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
17 Partner Warehouse Crime- True Crime

The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream

by

The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Our enlightenment begins with context: most of the migrants came from Fujian Province in southeastern China. This was known soon after the Golden Venture grounded, but Keefe tells us about the place (poor, mountainous, situated on the coast across the strait from Taiwan) and about precedents for "this peculiar type of population displacement, in which the people of a handful of villages seem to relocate en masse to another country within a short span of time" — in New York City they include Calabrians relocating to Mulberry Street in Little Italy at the turn of the twentieth century. Such regional migrations can take on a momentum of their own; Keefe writes, enlighteningly, that they are driven not simply by poverty but, once under way, by the disparities in income between families related to emigrants (who receive remittances allowing them to live large) and families who are not." Ted Conover, The Nation (read the entire Nation review)

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

A mesmerizing narrative about the rise and fall of an unlikely international crime boss.

In the 1980s, a wave of Chinese from Fujian province began arriving in America. Like other immigrant groups before them, they showed up with little money but with an intense work ethic and an unshakeable belief in the promise of the United States. Many of them lived in a world outside the law, working in a shadow economy overseen by the ruthless gangs that ruled the narrow streets of New York's Chinatown.

The figure who came to dominate this Chinese underworld was a middle-aged grandmother known as Sister Ping. Her path to the American dream began with an unusual business run out of a tiny noodle store on Hester Street. From her perch above the shop, Sister Ping ran a full-service underground bank for illegal Chinese immigrants. But her real business — a business that earned an estimated $40 million — was smuggling people.

As a "snakehead," she built a complex — and often vicious — global conglomerate, relying heavily on familial ties, and employing one of Chinatown's most violent gangs to protect her power and profits. Like an underworld CEO, Sister Ping created an intricate smuggling network that stretched from Fujian Province to Hong Kong to Burma to Thailand to Kenya to Guatemala to Mexico. Her ingenuity and drive were awe-inspiring both to the Chinatown community — where she was revered as a homegrown Don Corleone — and to the law enforcement officials who could never quite catch her.

Indeed, Sister Ping's empire only came to light in 1993 when the Golden Venture, a ship loaded with 300 undocumented immigrants, ran aground off a Queens beach. It took New York's fabled "Jade Squad" and the FBI nearly ten years to untangle the criminal network and hone in on its unusual mastermind.

The Snakehead is a panoramic tale of international intrigue and a dramatic portrait of the underground economy in which America's twelve million illegal immigrants live. Based on hundreds of interviews, Patrick Radden Keefe's sweeping narrative tells the story not only of Sister Ping, but of the gangland gunslingers who worked for her, the immigration and law enforcement officials who pursued her, and the generation of penniless immigrants who risked death and braved a 17,000 mile odyssey so that they could realize their own version of the American dream. The Snakehead offers an intimate tour of life on the mean streets of Chinatown, a vivid blueprint of organized crime in an age of globalization and a masterful exploration of the ways in which illegal immigration affects us all.

Review:

"Keefe (Chatter) examines America's complicated relationship with immigration in this brilliant account of Cheng Chui Ping, known as Sister Ping, who built a multimillion-dollar empire as a 'snakehead,' smuggling Chinese immigrants into America. Sister Ping herself entered the U.S. legally in 1981 from China's Fuzhou province, but was soon known among Fujianese immigrants in Manhattan's Chinatown as the go-to for advice, loans and connections to bring their families to America. Her empire grew so large that she contracted out muscle work to the local gang, the Fuk Ching. Keefe points to the Golden Venture — a ship full of Fujianese illegals that ran fatally aground in 1993 — as the beginning of the end for Sister Ping. She was sentenced in 2000 to 35 years in prison for conspiracy, money laundering and trafficking. Despite an enormous cast of characters in a huge underground web of global crime, Keefe's account maintains the swift pace of a thriller. With the immigration debate still boiling, this exploration of how far people will go to achieve the American dream is a must-read. (July 21)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1993, a small, weathered freighter, the Golden Venture, ran aground along the shoreline of New York's Rockaway beach. It was carrying 300 people from China's Fujian province. Most were men, though there was also a handful of women and children aboard. It was in many ways an age-old journey: immigrants risking their lives for a better life. But this was different.... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"A well-told, panoramic international true-crime adventure." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Patrick Radden Keefe has written a vivid non fiction thriller. The Snakehead reads like a Chinese-American version of The Sopranos, except that the mob boss is a grandmother who runs a human smuggling enterprise, and the story is true." Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side

Review:

"The Snakehead achieves what only the finest reporting can: it peels back an astonishing hidden world. Keefe takes the reader on a spellbinding journey from peasant farms in Asia to the treacherous high seas to the violent streets of Chinatown — a journey that will forever change your understanding of what it means to become an American." David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z

Video

About the Author

Patrick Radden Keefe is a fellow at The Century Foundation and the author of Chatter. He is a graduate of Columbia College, Cambridge University, the London School of Economics, and Yale Law School, and the recipient of a Marshall Scholarship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A regular contributor to The New Yorker, Slate, and many other publications, he is also a frequent commentator on NPR, the BBC, and CNN. Visit his Web site at www.patrickraddenkeefe.com.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385521307
Subtitle:
An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream
Author:
Keefe, Patrick Radden
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
Organized crime
Subject:
Criminals & Outlaws
Subject:
Emigration & Immigration
Subject:
United States Emigration and immigration.
Subject:
Illegal aliens -- United States.
Subject:
General Current Events
Subject:
Crime - True Crime
Publication Date:
20090721
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.42x6.42x1.52 in. 1.60 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret... Used Hardcover $8.95
  2. The Secret Speech Used Trade Paper $8.50
  3. Ravens Used Book Club Paperback $1.95
  4. The Girl Who Played with Fire
    Used Hardcover $1.98
  5. "I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank...
    Used Hardcover $8.50
  6. Villains' Paradise: A History of... Used Trade Paper $5.95

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » Mobs and Organized Crime
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Immigration

The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.00 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385521307 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Keefe (Chatter) examines America's complicated relationship with immigration in this brilliant account of Cheng Chui Ping, known as Sister Ping, who built a multimillion-dollar empire as a 'snakehead,' smuggling Chinese immigrants into America. Sister Ping herself entered the U.S. legally in 1981 from China's Fuzhou province, but was soon known among Fujianese immigrants in Manhattan's Chinatown as the go-to for advice, loans and connections to bring their families to America. Her empire grew so large that she contracted out muscle work to the local gang, the Fuk Ching. Keefe points to the Golden Venture — a ship full of Fujianese illegals that ran fatally aground in 1993 — as the beginning of the end for Sister Ping. She was sentenced in 2000 to 35 years in prison for conspiracy, money laundering and trafficking. Despite an enormous cast of characters in a huge underground web of global crime, Keefe's account maintains the swift pace of a thriller. With the immigration debate still boiling, this exploration of how far people will go to achieve the American dream is a must-read. (July 21)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Our enlightenment begins with context: most of the migrants came from Fujian Province in southeastern China. This was known soon after the Golden Venture grounded, but Keefe tells us about the place (poor, mountainous, situated on the coast across the strait from Taiwan) and about precedents for "this peculiar type of population displacement, in which the people of a handful of villages seem to relocate en masse to another country within a short span of time" — in New York City they include Calabrians relocating to Mulberry Street in Little Italy at the turn of the twentieth century. Such regional migrations can take on a momentum of their own; Keefe writes, enlighteningly, that they are driven not simply by poverty but, once under way, by the disparities in income between families related to emigrants (who receive remittances allowing them to live large) and families who are not." (read the entire Nation review)
"Review" by , "A well-told, panoramic international true-crime adventure."
"Review" by , "Patrick Radden Keefe has written a vivid non fiction thriller. The Snakehead reads like a Chinese-American version of The Sopranos, except that the mob boss is a grandmother who runs a human smuggling enterprise, and the story is true."
"Review" by , "The Snakehead achieves what only the finest reporting can: it peels back an astonishing hidden world. Keefe takes the reader on a spellbinding journey from peasant farms in Asia to the treacherous high seas to the violent streets of Chinatown — a journey that will forever change your understanding of what it means to become an American."
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.