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Described as “a love letter to and for Asian Americans,” instant New York Times bestseller Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now is a vivid tour of Asian American pop culture in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and beyond. 

Authors Jeff Yang (I Am Jackie Chan), Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man), and Philip Wang (Wong Fu Productions) wrote Rise as a way to document, reflect upon, and ultimately celebrate the story of those formative decades and the rise of Asian America as we know it today. 

Until 1965, immigration to the U.S. from Asia was largely prohibited due to exclusionary policies that favored Europeans. When the Hart-Cellar Act was passed and the discriminatory policies ended, a new era of immigration from Asia began. 

By the 1990s, the first wave of children born to those immigrants began to come of age. Rise celebrates not only the things that made headlines for this emergent culture, but also the often-overlooked experiences, works, and people that helped Asian Americans understand “who we are and how we could express that to the world.”

Rise is organized by decade, with each section starting with a historical and contextual introduction and overview. It’s packed with illustrated infographics, fold-out diagrams, dialogues, music playlists, comics, flow charts, and interviews with stars like Randall Park, Ken Jeong, and Ming Na Wen. 

The pages highlight rappers, gamers, spelling bee champions, cartoon characters and YouTube stars, Bollywood and K-pop, dance clubs and Linsanity, celebrity chefs, politicians, and “undercover Asians” like Freddie Mercury, Norah Jones, Tiger Woods, Chloe Bennet, and Vanessa Hudgens.

“It took a tremendous amount of work trying to capture and represent as much as we did,” write Yang, Yu, and Wang. “But in a way, that shows how much our community has accomplished in the past three decades, and how big, complex, nuanced, and diverse it really is. … The bottom line: If you don’t remember the past, you can’t rise above it.”

For those looking for a book to learn more about AAPI heritage, Rise is an excellent resource that can help not only expand our view of Asian America, but America itself. (Harper Collins)


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