Reviews

  • Wong’s family story can stand in for the experiences of all Chinese immigrants, it is an effective narrative device that allows the reader to connect to various characters’ experiences of racism… Escape to Gold Mountain is grounded in academic historiography.
    - Sean Carleton (Illustrating Racism: Challenging Canada’s Racial Amnesia with Comics)
  • …most interesting of all was my realization that the visual portrayal of such a painful and sensitive story turned out to be such a success. Rather than degrading or dumbing down the substance, it inspired me to keep "reading"
    - Christine Mowat (PLAIN Language 2013. 20th Anniversary Conference)
  • I found the book enlightening and engrossing; it presents history in a straight forward and readable way that adults also will be informed and reminded of past injustices. I recommend it to readers of all ages.
    - Theresa Wolfwood (Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation)
  • In any other medium, Escape to Gold Mountain would be categorized as historical fiction. In comics, we don’t see many of these types of texts that straddle the academic and the personal (its Library of Congress call number begins with FC instead of PN, placing it on the Canadian History shelf instead of beside Graphic Novels). The text is a hybrid, containing fictional characters while being well referenced and endnoted for those wishing to either validate its claims or pursue further study, and more than any other text I’ve encountered shows what the graphic novel is capable of in terms of reaching. I can only hope that more graphic novels demonstrating a similar willingness to defy expectations of traditional History textbooks will follow in its wake.
    - Scott Marsden (Graphixia)
  • Of the three books under review, the most stunning and gripping is David Wong’s Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America. Wong’s introduction of Native or First Nations people nursing injured Chinese workers back to health thus forging a bond that endures until today. The First Nations-Chinese liaison is a bold idea as other books have merely hinted at this symbiosis.
    - Anthony Chan (Asian Affairs: An American Review)
  • By weaving a story and providing a narrative within the context of historical events, it is easier for readers to follow the chronology of how we got from then to now… a time period that is not widely discussed or usually taught in-depth in schools. I’ll admit that while I knew a bit about the Chinese’s history in this country, I did not know anything about what had happened across the border and how the Canadian government had followed the United States’ lead in excluding the Chinese. Wong’s drawings help readers get a better sense of what happened during this dark time in North American history.
    - Samantha Pak (Northwest Asian Weekly)
  • The illustrations are full of engaging details… before she knows it, the reader will have absorbed a good chunk of Chinese Canadian and Chinese American history. This genre makes Wong’s book appealing to younger readers. But as Sandy Wee, past-APALA President, noted, “its inclusion of historical notes and references to primary sources and further reading make it valuable for adult readers, too".
    - Janet H. Clarke (Asian Pacific American Librarians Association: APALA)
  • […] the directness will appeal to teens who are likely to be unfamiliar with the history… it resoundingly succeeds as an educational and inspirational effort.
    - Gordon Flagg (Booklist, American Library Association)
  • [Escape to Gold Mountain] is a well-researched, graphic history of the experiences of Chinese immigrants in Canada and the United States… the pictured text made some of the events stand out much more vividly than the same events do when only presented in a text alone setting
    - Foster Stockwell (Chinese American Forum)
  • a hip, accessible, comic-book format that's chock full of historical details
    - Ron Judd (Pacific Northwest Magazine)
  • A graphic novel that gives a panoramic but also an intimate look at the Chinese experience in North America
    - Teaching a People's History (Zinn Education Project)
  • remarkable graphic novel… (the) blending of U.S. and Canadian history is one of the delightful and unusual aspects of this important book. No doubt, this is a story of racism, exploitation, and violence; but it's also a story of warmth and solidarity
    - Teaching for Change (www.bbpbooks.teachingforchange.org)
  • Pretty darn good, actually. Includes both California (mostly San Francisco) and Vancouver/ Victoria, B.C., Canada
    - Otter be reading (www.otterbereading.com)
  • …any story spanning these historical events would be the stuff of an epic novel, but I love this form—the graphic novel—for the way it reconstructs a pictorial history. Wong’s drawings do much of the work of individuating characters. The illustrations have a dynamic cinematic quality, with variation in the layout and dimensions of frames, close-ups and aerial views that reflect the scope of the story and the pace of change.
    - Andrea Routley (The Coastal Spectator)
  • Filled with awe, love, and gratitude to all the community leaders whom I've never met and may never meet… for making it possible for me (a Chinese-Canadian) to grow up here, go to school and find my place here North America in Coast Salish Territories. And crazy respect to David for telling a story in such beautifully illustrated novel!
    - Claudia Li (Shark Truth, Founder)
  • Escape to Gold Mountain is a daring experiment in making a neglected facet of Canadian history available in a format that has proven accessible and appealing to both adolescent and adult readers: the graphic novel. […] a book that blends rich narrative, history, and visual drama. Wong successfully distills the complex history of Chinese immigrants by fictionalizing the experiences of several generations of his own ancestors as they attempt to build a better life on the West Coast
    - Quill and Quire
  • … more than two hundred pages as fully formed and central actors in history is a highly entertaining and enjoyable step towards decolonizing our history. In addition to being of wide popular appeal to audiences of all ages, this book will make an excellent teaching tool in high schools and universities…
    - BC Studies (The British Columbian Quarterly)
  • Wong does a solid job of bringing his characters to life and making the narrative both informative and emotional. Readers will want a happily-ever-after for these people and feel real emotion for those who receive only despair upon arriving at Gold Mountain. As a fan of both American and Canadian history, I found this graphic novel quite compelling and perfectly suited for the illustrated form.
    - Bookslut
  • Wong bases the graphic novel on real events and real members of his family, but it is a work of fiction and includes imagined encounters with historical figures Emily Carr and Sun-Yat Sen. The historical content is well researched and enlightening.
    - Val Ken Lem (CM: Canadian Review of Materials)
  • This book is a great introduction to the expansive and complicated history of Chinese North America. It covers a wide range of topics and historical moments in a relatively short volume, and is a great resource for pointing people to other materials.
    - Asian American Literature Fans
  • Wong's book is a great illustrated yarn -- make that several generational yarns woven together […] Wong doesn't flinch from showing the discrimination and hardships Chinese faced as they sought to build new lives here, nor does he neglect the triumphant contributions they have made. Told and drawn with humour and bravado, this is a no digest of historical facts. It's a page turner for all ages that is likely to become a classic.
    - The Tyee
  • A graphic history of the Chinese in North America. Compelling book for adults and young adults alike. Vancouver author writes a truly memorable book.
    - Adrian Dix (Leader of BC NDP)
  • Escape to Gold Mountain has been tremendously helpful to my understanding of Chinese immigrant history […]  I hope Escape to Gold Mountain becomes part of every school curriculum. It’s a huge achievement and a ground-breaking work of immigrant history.
    - Janie Chang (Author)
  • The First Nations people have a great oral tradition, and David H.T. Wong’s comic book is a wonderful way to continue that tradition, along with his illustrations. This is a book for new and future generations that will create pride in the rich cultures we share.
    - Leonard George (Chief, Tsleil-Waututh Nation)
  • It’s engaging, fast-paced, and at some points, hilarious […] If someone had given me a history of Chinese people in North America in comic book form when I was a kid, I’d have loved it. With its easy-to-read format and gripping illustrations, this book provides an appealing avenue to learn history.
    - Kelly Yang (Asian Review of Books)
  • Canadian eco-architect David H.T. Wong's debut defies simple categorization: while clearly a graphic work for younger readers (much of the language is soooo totally tweenage vernacular) […] Wong proves that pictures can indeed hold thousands (and thousands!) of words, capturing 200+ years of history in as many pages
    - BookDragon (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center)
  • Escape to Gold Mountain is a graphic history book about the experiences of the Chinese people in North America. It's written by Vancouver architect David H.T. Wong and is full of beautiful drawings and comic book style dialogue and text. Together, the pictures and words tell the incredible story of struggle and perseverance.
    - Sheryl MacKay (CBC radio - North by Northwest)
  • The author's panel work makes an at-times painful history easily read [. . .] The comic is really a jumping-off point for those interested in the subject matter -- the epic research that Wong put towards the book made for enough bibliography and reading resources to launch a thousand syllabi, or at least a sense that an important portion of history may have been missing from your childhood textbooks.
    - The San Francisco Bay Guardian
  • Escape to Gold Mountain is a comprehensive, documentary -styled inventory of the injustices and cruelty endured by Chinese in North America.
    - BC Bookworld
  • This book is an excellent introduction to the complex issue of Chinese immigration as told from the Chinese point of view.
    - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • (The book) as a tool to promote not only Chinese American and Chinese Canadian history, but also social justice and anti-racism, David Wong revealed that he intends to continue to use his book as an educational opportunity for teachers and students alike.
    - Asian Canadian Writers Workshop Society
  • This is action-packed history for new generations as longtime community activist David Wong presents over 100 years of Gold Mountain stories, drawn and told with passion and a critical eye. A rousing tribute to our pioneers!
    - Paul Yee (Author of Ghost Train and Tales from Gold Mountain)
  • The book is now in its second printing and is ranked #1 for Asian North American literature […] David knows his subject. He has been active in the community and promoting Chinese Canadian history for many years! (At the book launch) the line up for autographs and pictures was long… many community leaders and activists came out to support David.
    - Todd Wong (Founder, Gung Haggis Fat Choy)
  • Eloquent, lyrical black-and-gray panels that conjure the environment and living conditions as well as the people.
    - Library Journal
  • A poignant and passionate exploration of an oft-overlooked and ugly chapter of our shared North American history, Escape to Gold Mountain should be required reading in schools and libraries for anyone over the age of twelve. Wong should be commended for his courage in attempting to reach out not only to new generations of North American Chinese but to including the rest of us, as well.
    - Jason Wilkins (www.brokenfrontier.com)
  • Not nonfiction exactly, as the history is told through the experience of one family-- but certainly a true story at its core--little is written of the shameful treatment of Chinese immigrants in the US and Canada. Wong's graphic reads like a history and feels very YA-- in every positive sense, but will no doubt appeal to adults too. I always say I love a graphic memoir-- but I love a well done graphic history too.  Read it.
    - Ann's Reading Blog
  • David Wong has written and illustrated an excellent debut graphic novel. His simple artwork style is effective in conveying the plight of the Chinese immigrants and his text encourages further detailed study of complex issues. This isn’t a Weird Western but the real life horrors endured by the Chinese are nore frightening than any zombie or ghost terrorizing the Old West.
    - Paul Green (Weird Westerns)
  • Through illustrations and words… these are the stories of our ancestors—our pioneers—who actually built our nations […] more important, it’s a book about racism, and it’s also a book about hope.
    - The Georgia Straight
  • I got your comic book today!!!!! super cool!!! love it sooooo much!! We must interview you!!!
    - Susanna Ng (Managing Editor / News Editor Ming Pao Daily Vancouver)
  • I started reading Escape to Gold Mountain on the train last night and could not stop reading it until I completed it yesterday. Wow, it is so brilliant! The story is very poignant and gripping. It moves so dynamically from moments of such sadness, anger, love, hate and triumph. I learned a lot and being Toisanese myself, it really resonated with me on so many levels. I really enjoyed the wonderful illustrations.
    - Gordon Pon (Associate Professor School of Social Work, Ryerson University)
  • David Wong’s Escape to Gold Mountain is an important book that plays to the strength of the graphic novel form. It encapsulizes the struggle of the Chinese in North America in a sweeping visual narrative, attacking a complex storyline that takes in the opium wars to early immigration, railroad workers, the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Forget Batman; Escape to Gold Mountain reveals that the real superheroes are the ones who toil and sacrifice for their families in the face of obscurity.
    - Tony Wong (Journalist at Toronto Star)
  • A tour-de-force artistic and conceptual achievement that will redefine how Chinese in North America and others perceive our common history.
    - Anthony B. Chan (Author of Gold Mountain, and Perpetually Cool: The Many Lives of Anna May Wong)
  • This book is an excellent introduction to the complex issue of Chinese immigration as told from the Chinese point of view
    - ManOfLaBook (www.blogcritics.org)

Share your thoughts and experience with us!

Email your words (up to 80 words) to treefrog@escapetogoldmountain.com for consideration… you may also attach a small photo of yourself (120 x 160 px).

Comments may be edited for brevity and taste. Thank you!