3 The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
Critics saluted Yung’s Unbound Feet as “a stunning and sweeping piece of historical scholarship” on the lives of Chinese women in San Francisco between 1900 and 1945. Non-academic audiences are just as likely as scholarly ones to fall in love with this book.
Unbound Feet is filled with beautifully written passages, engrossing stories and humanizing voices of the Chinese women themselves, drawn from personal interviews, unpublished autobiographies, newspapers, photographs and more.
The second half of the book explores the participation of second-generation Chinese American women in the workforce and the war effort - an important episode in the formation of the Chinese American identity and women’s history.
While some women were trapped in their homes or sold as prostitutes or slaves, others became community organizers, business owners, and soldiers. Yet none were helpless victims. Yung pays homage to these unknown, but remarkable women.