How we got here

Most Americans are descended from immigrants, if not immigrants themselves, and Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America is a history of the immigrants who came from the East to enter the United States through San Francisco during the early part of the last century. Following the establishment of the Chinese Exclusion Act, immigration enforcement became a priority on the West Coast, and the center on Angel Island was built. But it wasn’t just the Chinese who entered through that island, which is now a national historic site: Japanese, Koreans, Russians, Jews, Germans, Mexicans and Filipinos came in some numbers, and there were even a handful of Canadians and Australians. Lee and Yung have written a detailed history, but have not lost sight of readability; they make full use of narrative based in the lives of actual people to understand what Angel Island meant to our grandparents’—or great-grandparents’—generation.