Tenley Author Series: Scott D. Seligman

Tenley-Friendship Library

Tenley Author Series: Scott D. Seligman

Photo of Three Tough Chinamen book jacketJoin local author Scott D. Seligman as he discusses his book, Three Tough Chinamen, which chronicles the lives of the Moy brothers, late-19th-century Chinese immigrants to America who crossed lines and broke barriers. They were tough men whose lives were hemmed in by prejudice and restrictive laws. They were scrappy and ambitious. And they were in the U.S. to stay.

In an era when Chinese were excluded from America’s shores and most already here kept their heads down, they stood up and spoke out against injustices. They fought for their countrymen and used all means available to get ahead, up to and including committing petty crimes and, in the case of one brother, heinous ones.

Three Tough Chinamen relates stories of outwitting laws that mandated that Chinese accept third-class status if they desired even a small share in the American dream. The Moy brothers did what they had to do to succeed and prosper, and their tales offer a window into the lives of America’s Chinese at the turn of the 20th century. They tell of navigating obstacles and of culture clash, and of how Western ethics and laws fared among Asian immigrants when they went head to head, as they inevitably had to, against ancient values like clan loyalty, and against personal interests and greed.

Author photoScott D. Seligman is a writer, historian, and a career “China hand.” Fluent in Mandarin and conversant in Cantonese, he has lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China. He holds degrees from Princeton and Harvard Universities, and is the author of Chinese Business Etiquette and Dealing With the Chinese, and co-author of the best-selling Cultural Revolution Cookbook, Chinese at a Glance and Now You’re Talking Mandarin Chinese. He has also published articles in the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the China Business Review, China Heritage Quarterly, the Jewish Daily Forward and Traces (the Journal of the Indiana Historical Society). He lives in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, Oct. 3 - 7 p.m.
Second-Floor Auditorium
A book sale and signing will follow the discussion.