I Begin My Life All Over: The Hmong and the American Immigrant Experience

Paperback, 288 pages, 6x9, English
by Lillian Faderman
ISBN: 978-0-80707-235-6
Faderman (Speaking for Ourselves) offers a perspective on immigration to this country that artfully combines the personal and the universal. By linking together 35 narratives from Hmong immigrants displaced from their native Laos by the war in Vietnam, she uncovers their common concerns, such as gender relations, parental control and assimilation to technology. Many first-generation Hmong came to the U.S. from relocation camps in Thailand, after escaping the Communists, and those experiences have shaped their interaction within the technology-based American culture. However, second-generation Hmong straddle the demands of their birthplace with the expectations of their parents. The differences between these generations offer a clear picture of what the Hmong and other immigrant groups face when confronted by societal change. Faderman's inclusion of the Hmong's history in Laos and China provides a context for the first-person accounts and deepens our awareness of the obstacles they've overcome in adjusting to their new country. This enriching book fulfills the author's aim "to capture [the Hmongs'] living voices, and to make those voices resound in the reader's ears." Photos.