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Reviews - Cane Reapers

Richard Allsopp:
For my own part, and the major basis of my recommendation of Dr. Sue-A-Quan's work to the reading public, there is a fourfold interest, stimulated by his scholarly plan of presentation. First is the fascinating ethno-biography of a diaspora. . . . Its potential, small a work though it be when contrasted with Alex Haley's emotive venture in Roots, might - just might - enable some of us in the vast range of the Afro-Western diaspora to realize how much is lost in ignoring or despising one's ethno-biography, seeing how much respect is gained when others define theirs, as Dr. Sue-A-Quan has done so well, detailing good and bad alike. . . . Second comes my enlightenment by the unusual: the shock that the Chinese national supremacist self-image suffered from the European "barbarians" . . . Third, as a student of language myself, is the academic fascination of the romanization of Chinese names. . . .My fourth definite (but perhaps not really my last) interest in what Dr. Sue-A-Quan's work reveals is an insight into why Britain's meek and ceremonial return to Chinese rule of the island of Hong Kong, which was of no commercial and only nominal geographic value when a British warship seized it in 1842, was so "sweet" to China's pride in 1997.
Cane Reapers is small enough a book to encourage reading in today's busy world, but its great value lies in easy reading in which a factual, scholarly and historical narrative of a people whose peaceful and hardworking character is sorely missed in the country they have largely left and which could have benefited so much from just such citizens today.
Richard Allsopp, Ph.D., Dip.Ed., Former Acting Principal, Queen's College, Georgetown, Guyana. Director, Caribbean Lexicography Project - University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados.

Wally Look Lai:
The most obvious strengths of Trev Sue-a-Quan's research has been his thorough examination of a primary source relatively neglected to date, the records of the British Guiana newspaper, the ROYAL GAZETTE, during the relevant years. The text comes alive with the names of many hitherto forgotten immigrants with their multitude of problems and experiences under the indenture system. The detailed commentaries on the arrival of the individual immigrant ships also make this source a mine of information. Equally important has been the author's knowledge of mainland Chinese history and culture, which has enriched the insights not only into the global aspects of the Chinese nineteenth century migrations, but also into micro-processes like the evolution of West Indian Chinese names. Chapter Ten, NAME CALLING, was for me one of the most entertaining and insightful sections of this research.
CANE REAPERS is a valuable addition to the new literature on Caribbean Chinese communities, and should find its place on all library bookshelves which are interested in this topic.
Walton Look Lai, History Department, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago


Laura Hall:
Cane Reapers is the result of many years of careful research by Trev Sue-A-Quan. In the first third of the book the author narrates the complex historical conditions leading to the migration of the Chinese to Guyana from their homes in Southern China. This was one of many migrations by Chinese but it is one that has had little attention in the past, often being subsumed into the larger and more infamous migration to Cuba. At the time however, the issue of migration to the British West Indies was one that engaged the attention of British and Chinese diplomats and politicians at the highest levels. . . . Cane Reapers will be of interest to scholars interested in the Chinese Diaspora, the Caribbean and issues of migration. Students of Guyanese social history will find it illuminates a fascinating corner of their history that has had little attention up to now. Finally, those Guyanese of Chinese descent will find much to interest, horrify and amuse them in the story of how their ancestors came to Guyana and how they fared once they got there.
Laura J. Hall, Ph.D., Adjunct Lecturer in American Studies, University of California, Berkeley.


Helen Atteck:
Congratulations on an excellent read. Your book, Cane Reapers, fills a void in the history of the Chinese immigrants to the West Indies, specifically Guyana . . . but appropriate to the other islands too. I will be sending you another cheque to buy a few more copies.
Helen Atteck is from Trinidad and lives in St. Catherines, Ontario.


Ambassador Odeen Ishmael:
Your book is a monumental gift to all the people of Guyana, and I must congratulate you for what I am sure was a long period of diligent research to enable you to produce this masterpiece.
I am really very proud of you as I am sure are all who have read your book.
Odeen Ishmael
Ambassador of Guyana to the United States of America, Washington. D.C.


Jennifer Wong:
I enjoyed your book enormously. The lucid descriptions of conditions in China and the various practices of recruiting indentured labour were particularly enlightening, as was the weaving in of connections of the diaspora to California & the Pacific. The vignettes of licit and illicit activities of the immigrants on the sugar plantations & the subsequent moves into the wider economy are equally intriguing. . . . I'm exceedingly glad you brought this social history through to fruition.
Jennifer Wong, descendant of immigrants on the Dartmouth (1879), now a translator, resident in France.


Richard Allicock:
I really enjoyed reading your book. You write well and with good humour. This is far from the style of our professional or hobby historians. You have also excelled many of them if not most of them in their efforts for the detail you manage to cover with the strategy you adopted with selections from the Royal Gazette.
Richard Allicock is a political scientist from Guyana specializing in the history and politics of that country during the 19th century.


Yu-Ching Pan:
I find your book of great value and I will introduce it to my children and other Chinese descendants. 
Yu-Ching Pan is a biochemist living in New Jersey, USA.


Laddie Kong:
Got your books in the mail and I must tell you, if I have more bags under my eyes it is your fault. I started the book last night and could not put the book down. Almost stayed up all night reading. I am enjoying it thoroughly and hope to finish it today.
Laddie Kong has ties to Guyana, Panama, Jamaica and China and lives in Florida, USA.


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This is the Reviews - Reapers page. Your reviews and comments are welcome.

This website page was updated on 26 May 2004

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