writer. scholar. professor. etcetera
The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective
and His Rendezvous with American History
On a balmy July night in 1904, a wiry figure sauntered alone through the dim alleys of Honolulu’s Chinatown. He strolled up a set of rickety steps and into a smoky gambling den ringing with jeers of card sharks and crapshooters. By the time anyone recognized the infamous bullwhip dangling from his hand, it was too late. Single-handedly, the feared, five-foot-tall Hawaiian cop, Chang Apana, had lined up forty gamblers and marched them down to the police station.
So begins Charlie Chan, Yunte Huang’s absorbing history of the legendary Cantonese detective, born in Hawaii around 1871, who inspired a series of fiction and movie doubles that long defined America’s distorted perceptions of Asians and Asian Americans. In chronicling the real-life story and the fraught narrative of one of Hollywood’s most iconic detectives, Huang has fashioned a historical drama where none was known to exist, creating a work that will, in the words of Jonathan Spence, “permanently change the way we tell this troubled yet gripping story.”
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published by W. W. Norton
New York Times Notable Book of 2010
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
Edgar Award Winner
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
PEN USA Literary Award Finalist
"One of the most entertaining, informative, and provocative books I have read in a long time."
--David Thomson, The New Republic
"Yunte Huang writes with rare personal intensity and capacious intelligence."