Filipino Americans are now the second largest group of Asian Americans as well as the second largest immigrant group in the United States. As reflected in this collection, their lives represent the diversity of the immigrant experience and their narratives are a way to understand ethnic identity and Filipino American history.
Men and women, old and young, middle and working class, first and second generation, all openly discuss their changing sense of identity, the effects of generational and cultural differences on their families, and the role of community involvement in their lives. Pre- and post-1965 immigrants share their experiences, from the working students who came before WWII, to the manongs in the field, to the stewards and officers in the U.S. Navy, to the "brain drain" professionals, to the Filipinos born and raised in the United States.
As Yen Le Espiritu writes in the Introduction, "each of the narratives reveals ways in which Filipino American identity has been and continues to be shaped by a colonial history and a white-dominated culture. It is through recognizing how profoundly race has affected their lives that Filipino Americans forge their ethnic identities—identities that challenge stereotypes and undermine practices of cultural domination."
"...a useful means of understanding ethnic identity and Filipino American history."
—The Diversity Factor
"Filipino American Lives offers a collection of 13 life stories as told by the people who lived them.... (F)rom these disparate backgrounds, a Filipino American identity emerges and Espiritu does an excellent job of letting the reader see its complexity."
— Pacific Reader