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Tong Wars

The Untold Story of Vice, Money, and Murder in New York's Chinatown
Narrated by: David Shih
Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Nothing had worked. Not threats or negotiations, not shutting down the betting parlors or opium dens, not throwing Chinese offenders into prison. Not even executing them. The New York DA was running out of ideas, and more people were dying every day as the weapons of choice evolved from hatchets to automatic weapons and even bombs. Welcome to New York City's Chinatown in 1925.

The Chinese in turn-of-the-last-century New York were mostly immigrant peasants and shopkeepers who worked as laundrymen, cigar makers, and domestics. They gravitated to lower Manhattan and lived as Chinese an existence as possible, their few diversions - gambling, opium, and prostitution - available but, sadly, illegal. It didn't take long before one resourceful merchant saw a golden opportunity to feather his nest by positioning himself squarely between the vice dens and the police charged with shutting them down.

A mesmerizing true story, Scott D. Seligman's Tong Wars roars through three decades of turmoil, with characters ranging from gangsters and drug lords to reformers and do-gooders to judges, prosecutors, cops, and politicians of every stripe and color.

©2016 Scott D. Seligman (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This thoroughly researched and fascinating work is highly recommended for those interested in organized crime or the early history of New York's Chinatown." ( Library Journal)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Valuable Imformation! Fascinating History.

History of early New York City that is fascinating. The exploitation and stigmatism of the Chinese was unholy. The press played a great part in making life here for Chinese immigrants unbearable and barely livable. I was not even aware of the "Chinese Exclusion Act" passed in 1882 in an attempt at ethnic cleansing. The storytelling is like music and the narration superb. This is someplace you have never been before.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Very interesting read

This book was filled with lots of good information but the narrative was dry. There were moments when when Chinatown felt alive and something that you could picture and then they were others where things were just a recounting of police reports.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book about the Tongs

I really liked how they not just went into the history of wars but other factors for the wars. also helped to know the money and comparing to today's Dollars. I appreciate how much they deliver to give the recount of the Tongs and the wars they waged