A historical overview introduces a selection of works by Hisaye Yamamoto, Bharati Mukherjee, Jessica Hagedorn, Cathy Song, Marilyn Chin, Woo Ping Chin, Yelina Hasu Houston, and others.
BooknewsSpecialist in slavery Finkelman (American history, U. of Miami- Coral Gables) argues that slavery was a central issue in the founding of the US, that slaveowners dominated the government from 1787 to 1819, and that the institution of slavery radically altered the country's development. He shows that next to land, slaves were the most valuable property, and that even people such as Jefferson who feared the effect of slavery on society feared emancipation and free blacks even more. He thinks the Garrisonian abolitionists offered an accurate interpretation of the Constitution but that they were mistaken to absent themselves from politics rather than fight for reform. Earlier versions of some of the chapters have been published elsewhere. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)