“Gripping . . . Chang has accomplished the seemingly impossible . . . He has written a remarkably rich, human, and compelling story of the railroad Chinese.” — Peter Cozzens, Wall Street Journal
WINNER OF THE ASIAN/PACIFIC AMERICAN AWARD FOR LITERATURE
WINNER OF THE CHINESE AMERICAN LIBRARIANS ASSOCIATION BEST BOOK AWARD
A groundbreaking, breathtaking history of the Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, helping to forge modern America only to disappear into the shadows of history until now
From across the sea, they came by the thousands, escaping war and poverty in southern China to seek their fortunes in America. Converging on the enormous western worksite of the Transcontinental Railroad, the migrants spent years dynamiting tunnels through the snow-packed cliffs of the Sierra Nevada and laying tracks across the burning Utah desert. Their sweat and blood fueled the ascent of an interlinked, industrial United States. But those of them who survived this perilous effort would suffer a different kind of death: a historical one, as they were pushed first to the margins of American life and then to the fringes of public memory.
In this groundbreaking account, award-winning scholar Gordon H. Chang draws on unprecedented research to recover the Chinese railroad workers’ stories and celebrate their role in remaking America. An invaluable correction of a great historical injustice, The Ghosts of Gold Mountain returns these “silent spikes” to their rightful place in our national saga.
“The lived experience of the Railroad Chinese has long been elusive . . . Chang’s book is a moving effort to recover their stories and honor their indispensable contribution to the building of modern America.” — New York Times