Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous With American History

  • Share this:
Share with a friend
Sign into your email account to send this page to a friend:
Outlook or Apple Mail
or other default program
Walmart Gift Card
Put the fun of shopping in their hands with Walmart Gift Cards! Ship to Home or Send via email.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous With American History

Format:  Hardcover,

83 pages

Publisher: Penguin Group USA

Publish Date: Mar 2011

ISBN-13: 9780142418277

ISBN-10: 0142418277

Buy from Walmart

Shipping & Pickup
Online
$17.97

In stock for:

  • Store information not available.

 Buy from Marketplace

Shipping & Additional Information

Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
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." Himself a literary sleuth, Huang has traced Charlie Chan's evolution from island legend to pop culture icon to vilified, postmodern symbol, ingeniously juxtaposing Apana's rough-and-tumble career against the larger backdrop of a territorial Hawaii torn apart by virulent racism. Apana's bravado prompted not only Earl Derr Biggers, a Harvard graduate turned author, to write six Charlie Chan mysteries but also Hollywood to manufacture over forty movies starring a grammatically challenged detective with a knack for turning Oriental wisdom into singsong Chinatown blues. Examining hundreds of biographical, literary, and cinematic sources, in English and in his native Chinese, Huang has pursued the trail of Charlie Chan since the mid-1990s, searching for clues in places as improbable as Harvard Yard, an Ohio cornfield, a weathered Hawaiian cemetery, and the Shanghai Bund. His efforts to refashion the Charlie Chan legend became a personal mission, as if the answers he sought would reshape his own identity--no longer a top Chinese student but an immigrant American eager to absorb the bewildering history of his adopted homeland. "With rare personal intensity and capacious intelligence," Huang has ascribed a starring role to "the honorable detective," one far more enduring than any of his wisecracking movie parts. Huang presents American history in a way that it has never been told before.

Specifications

Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
Publish Date: Aug 2010
ISBN-13: 9780393069624
ISBN-10: 0393069621
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 354
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.5
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 7.0 x 9.75 x 1.25

Chapter outline

List of Illustrations
Introduction
Prologue
The "Real" Charlie Chan
Sandalwood Mountains
Canton
Paniolo, the Hawaiian Cowboy
The Wilders of Waikiki
Book 'em, Danno!
Chinatown
The See Yup Man
Desperadoes
Double Murder
Charlie Chan's Pop
The Other Canton
Lampoon
The Raconteur
The House Without a Key
Charlie Chan, The Chinaman
The Heathen Chinee
Fu Manchu
Charlie Chan, the Chinaman
Kaimuki
Pasadena
A Meeting of East and West
Charlie Chan at the Movies
Hollywood's Chinoiserie
Yellowface
Between the Real and the Reel
Rape in Paradise
The Black Camel
Racial Parables
Charlie Chan Carries on
Charlie Chan in China
Charlie Chan Soldiers On
The Fu Manchurian Candidate
Will the Real Charlie Chan Please Stand Up?
Epilogue
AList of Charlie Chanisms
AList of Charlie Chan Films
Acknowledgments
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2010-07-01)

Huang (English, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Transpacific Imaginations) here gives us a fascinating examination of Charlie Chan that is many books in one. He begins with a study of Chang Apana (1871-1933), the real detective on whom Charlie Chan was based. Apana, who was born in Hawaii and lived in China from age three to ten, policed Honolulu's Chinatown after previous posts as a cowboy and as an officer for the Humane Society.

Huang then turns to Earl Derr Biggers, a Harvard graduate and writer who created the fictitious Chinese American detective Chan. Biggers himself proves to be equally intriguing. Huang also examines the cultural phenomenon of Charlie Chan in films and other media, exploring the detective's place in America's cultural memory. Huang believes there are many layers to the meaning of Biggers's creation: Chan cannot be easily dismissed simply as a product of American racism. Huang's personal reflections are welcome interludes in this most compelling work.

Verdict: This book has broad appeal to readers interested in film history, ethnic and cultural studies, literary biography, and pop culture. Recommended for public and academic libraries.

-Stacy Russo, Chapman Univ. Libs., Orange, CA

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Anthony Award, 2011 (United States)
  • Macavity Award, 2011 (United States)
  • Edgar Awards (Edgar Allan Poe Awards), 2011 (United States)
  • National Book Critics Circle Awards, 2010 (United States)
  • Agatha Award, 2010 (United States)
  • New York Times Notable Books of the Year, 2010 (United States)
  • Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, 2010 - 2011 (United States)
  • California Book Awards, 2010 (United States)
  • PEN Center USA West Literary Awards, 2011 (United States)

Book description

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.”

Himself a literary sleuth, Huang has traced Charlie Chan’s evolution from island legend to pop culture icon to vilified, postmodern symbol, ingeniously juxtaposing Apana’s rough-and-tumble career against the larger backdrop of a territorial Hawaii torn apart by virulent racism. Apana’s bravado prompted not only Earl Derr Biggers, a Harvard graduate turned author, to write six Charlie Chan mysteries but also Hollywood to manufacture over forty movies starring a grammatically challenged detective with a knack for turning Oriental wisdom into singsong Chinatown blues.

Examining hundreds of biographical, literary, and cinematic sources, in English and in his native Chinese, Huang has pursued the trail of Charlie Chan since the mid-1990s, searching for clues in places as improbable as Harvard Yard, an Ohio cornfield, a weathered Hawaiian cemetery, and the Shanghai Bund. His efforts to refashion the Charlie Chan legend became a personal mission, as if the answers he sought would reshape his own identity—no longer a top Chinese student but an immigrant American eager to absorb the bewildering history of his adopted homeland.

“With rare personal intensity and capacious intelligence,” Huang has ascribed a starring role to “the honorable detective,” one far more enduring than any of his wisecracking movie parts. Huang presents American history in a way that it has never been told before.

Customer Product Reviews

 

Gifting Plans

Financing Offers

Enjoy Great Financing!

Make the most of your shopping experience with the Walmart Discover® or Walmart Credit Card.

Save $25 when you open a Walmart® Credit Card and spend $75 today.*

*Offer subject to credit approval

Learn More or Apply Now

No Payments + No Interest if Paid in Full in 6 Months!
Enjoy no payments for 6 months. You'll have 6 months with no payments, and no interest if paid in full within 6 months on orders over $250. Otherwise, interest will be charged from the original date of purchase. Bill Me Later is the quick, easy, secure way to buy online without using your credit card. Simply select Bill Me Later at checkout. Subject to credit approval.

See Terms