Join the Conversation

Join the Conversation

Sign up today to hear about books and authors from an independent bookstore near you.

San Francisco Chinatown

San Francisco Chinatown Cover

San Francisco Chinatown

A Guide to Its History and Architecture

By Philip P. Choy

City Lights Books, Paperback, 9780872865402, 224pp.

Publication Date: August 14, 2012

Advertisement
Description

Winner of the American Book Award

San Francisco Chinatown is the first book of its kind--an "insider's guide" to one of America's most celebrated ethnic enclaves by an author born and raised there. Written by architect and Chinese American studies pioneer Philip P. Choy, the book details the triumphs and tragedies of the Chinese American experience in the U.S. Both a history of America's oldest and most famous Chinese community and a guide to its significant sites and architecture, San Francisco Chinatown traces the development of the neighborhood from the city's earliest days to its post-quake transformation into an "Oriental" tourist attraction as a pragmatic means of survival. Featuring a building-by-building breakdown of the most significant sites in Chinatown, the guide is lavishly illustrated with historical and contemporary photographs and offers walking tours for tourists and locals alike.

"A stunning new guidebook. . . History buffs will be amazed by the wealth of lore, legend and radiant fact." --San Francisco Chronicle

A Los Angeles Times summer reading pick

"San Francisco Chinatown illuminates the untold history of the enclave. . . to consider the political, historical, and cultural implications of Chinatown's very existence." --San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Part history book and part tour guide, San Francisco Chinatown is definitely niche, but wonderfully so. In it, Choy quickly outlines the history of San Francisco as a whole, then jumps into a section by section investigation of the city's famous Chinatown . . . San Francisco Chinatown whets ones appetite to learn more about Chinese-American history." --Evelyn McDonald, City Book Review

Retired architect and renowned historian of Chinese America Philip P. Choy co-taught the first college level course in Chinese American history at San Francisco State University. Since then he has created and consulted on numerous TV documentaries, exhibits, and publications. He has served on the California State Historic Resource Commission, on the San Francisco Landmark Advisory Board, five times as President of the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA), and currently as an emeritus CHSA boardmember. he is a recipient of the prestigious San Francisco State University President's Medal.



About the Author
Philip P. Choy was born 1926 in San Francisco Chinatown at a time when an invisible boundary isolated the community from mainstream San Francisco. He lived on the N.W. corner of Pacific and Grant Ave. where his father co-owned a meat market that catered not only to the Chinese in the community but to the neighboring Italian housewives in North Beach. Like all Chinese children he attended public school and after school attended Chinese school from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. He went to the University of California under the G.I. Bill and graduated with a degree in Architecture. He is a retired architect and a renowned historian on the history of Chinese America. In the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, Philip P. Choy and his colleague Him Mark Lai co-taught the Nation's first college level course in Chinese American history at San Francisco State University. Since then he has created and consulted on numerous T.V. documentaries, exhibits and publications, including the Gaam Saan Haak-The Chinese of America in 1974. He co-authored The Coming Man: 19th Century American Perceptions of the Chinese with Professors Marlon Hom and Lorraine Dong. His most recent book is Canton Footprints: Sacramento's Chinese Legacy. His community services includes providing pro-bono architectural services to non-profit organizations such as the Chinese for Affirmative Action, the former Chinese YWCA, the Oroville Temple, and in 1943 produced the case report that placed the Angel Island Immigration Station on the National Registry of Historic Places. He has served on the California State Historic Resource Commission, on the San Francisco Landmark Advisory Board, five times as President of the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA), and currently an emeritus CHSA boardmember. Among his awards of recognition is the prestigious San Francisco State University President's Medal.


Praise For San Francisco Chinatown

"Philip P. Choy's San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide to Its History and Architecture is just what local and out-of-town tourists have wanted and needed. . . . History buffs will be amazed by the wealth of lore, legend and radiant fact."San Francisco Chronicle

"San Francisco Chinatown illuminates the untold history of the enclave... to consider the political, historical, and cultural implications of Chinatown's very existence."San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Choy's book is easily read while walking, and fits easily into a jacket pocket. His descriptions are typically no more than two pages and are always accompanied by a large photo . . . I emphasize these qualities because the most important feature of a guidebook is that it is useable. And Choy has met this test."Beyond Chron

Advertisement