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The White Devil's Daughters

The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown
Narrated by: Nancy Wu
Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A revelatory history of the trafficking of young Asian girls that flourished in San Francisco during the first hundred years of Chinese immigration (1848-1943) and an in-depth look at the "safe house" that became a refuge for those seeking their freedom

Beginning in 1874, the Occidental Mission Home on the edge of San Francisco's Chinatown served as a gateway to freedom for thousands of enslaved and vulnerable young Chinese women and girls. Run by a courageous group of female abolitionists who fought the slave trade in Chinese women, it survived earthquakes, fire, bubonic plague, and violence directed against its occupants and supporters. With compassion and an investigative historian's sharp eye, Siler tells the story of both the abolitionists who challenged the corrosive anti-Chinese prejudices of the time and the young women who dared to flee their fate. 

She relates how the women who ran the home defied contemporary convention - even occasionally breaking the law - by physically rescuing children from the brothels where they worked or by snatching them off ships as they were being smuggled in - and how they helped bring the exploiters to justice. She also shares the moving stories of many of the girls and young women who sought refuge at the mission, and she writes about the lives they went on to lead. This is a remarkable chapter in an overlooked part of our history, told with sympathy and vigor.

©2019 Julia Flynn Siler (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“An eye-opening account of the valiant work of a handful of Christian women against the enslavement of Asian girls in San Francisco’s Chinatown from the mid-1870s well into the next century. In her latest impressive work of research and storytelling, Siler delves vigorously into a shocking story of racism and oppression. [She] vividly portrays both the vibrant, violent milieu of Chinatown of the era - amid the fear and hatred of the Chinese by whites and the effects of laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 - and the lives and dedication of the extraordinary women of the Mission House. An accessible, well-written, riveting tale of a dismal, little-known corner of American history.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“Gripping . . . Siler vividly recounts a shocking episode from America’s past . . . This strong story will fascinate readers interested in the history of women, immigration, and racism.” (Publishers Weekly)
 

“Unveils a remarkable and controversial chapter of Chinatown history. Sounding a warning gong in a world still plagued by human trafficking, The White Devil’s Daughters is a timely book and a valuable lesson in caring for the suffering of fellow humans while looking for a real cure.” (Yunte Huang, author of Inseparable)

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Well researched

Provides more historical. Context than Carol Green Wilson is a good historical account. Does little to show the human warmth of characters. Tries hard to veer away from being a retelling from a white Christian view, but even so I was disappointed. The narrative is a totally dispassionate narrative