[The Snakehead An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream free] E-pub By Patrick Radden Keefe

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The Snakehead An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream

A mesmerizing narrative about the rise and fall of an unlikely international crime bossIn the 1980s a wave of Chinese from Fujian province began arriving in America Like other immigrant groups before them they showed up with little money but with an intense work ethic and an unshakeable belief in the promise of the United States Many of them lived in a world outside the law working in a shadow economy overseen by the ruthless gangs that ruled the narrow streets of New York’s ChinatownThe figure who came to dominate this Chinese underworld was a middle aged grandmother known as Sister Ping Her path to the American dream began with an unusual business run out of a tiny noodle store on Hester Street From her perch above the shop Sister Ping ran a full service underground bank for illegal Chinese immigrants But her real business a business that ear According to the author a snakehead is someone who charges a huge amount of money to take people out of China and into other countries This book focuses on one of these people Sister Ping who came to the US legally and then proceeded to cash in on every opportunity she could including smuggling human beings into the country for millions in profit It was the wreck of the ship Golden Venture near Rockaway NY in 1993 in which several people died that captured the attention of the Federal Government and set several officials on the trail of Sister Ping But that s not the whole story hereit s also a look at the shifting policies of the Feds on legal and illegal immigration throughout our country s history as well as an examination of why law enforcement often has trouble getting a handle on this very big problem Misinformation lack of funding a staggering amount of asylum reuests and the uestion of who will receive asylum and who will be deported and often corruption on the part of some INS now ICE agents are all factors that the author examines in trying to understand why this woman was able to elude capture for nearly a decade not to mention the closing of ranks within the Chinese communities in the US around someone they considered almost a saintThe story of the Golden Venture is the focal point for examining wider and pertinent issues and while the author examines the impact of human smuggling and illegal immigrants in this country he also makes very clear that many people trying to get their chance at the American dream are willing to take the risks involved with illegal smuggling operations Also he makes the point when the Feds actually manage to capture someone like Sister Ping there are other people waiting in the wingsOverall this was a good read It seemed to go on a bit and probably could have been somewhat condensed but other than that I liked it People on both sides of the issue of illegal immigration will want to read this book

SUMMARY The Snakehead An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream

The criminal network and home in on its unusual mastermindTHE SNAKEHEAD is a panoramic tale of international intrigue and a dramatic portrait of the underground economy in which America’s twelve million illegal immigrants live Based on hundreds of interviews Patrick Radden Keefe’s sweeping narrative tells the story not only of Sister Ping but of the gangland gunslingers who worked for her the immigration and law enforcement officials who pursued her and the generation of penniless immigrants who risked death and braved a 17000 mile odyssey so that they could realize their own version of the American dream The Snakehead offers an intimate tour of life on the mean streets of Chinatown a vivid blueprint of organized crime in an age of globalization and a masterful exploration of the ways in which illegal immigration affects us allwwwdoubledaycom Truly fascinating Keefe did an awesome amount of research and organized the overlapping stories on different continents so that the pacing was right Epic in scope and mouth dropping in detail these interlocked stories touch so many lives and so many parts of the world it must have been difficult to know where to begin The characterizations are rich however and Keefe gives us a human scaled drama What struck me at the end was how persons of every ethnicity political stripe and religious persuasion could find justification in these stories for holding a particular view about immmigration Let it also be said that people who usually react one way on immigration turned 180 degrees when it came to a boatload of Fujian refugees dumped on Rockaway beach Political arch enemies joined hands to save these folks most of whom undoubtedly had absolutely no clue why anyone was trying to help them Law sy I d like to see a film made of this

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Ned an estimated 40 million was smuggling people As a “snakehead” she built a complex and often vicious global conglomerate relying heavily on familial ties and employing one of Chinatown's most violent gangs to protect her power and profits Like an underworld CEO Sister Ping created an intricate smuggling network that stretched from Fujian Province to Hong Kong to Burma to Thailand to Kenya to Guatemala to Mexico Her ingenuity and drive were awe inspiring both to the Chinatown community where she was revered as a homegrown Don Corleone and to the law enforcement officials who could never uite catch her Indeed Sister Ping’s empire only came to light in 1993 when the Golden Venture a ship loaded with 300 undocumented immigrants ran aground off a ueens beach It took New York’s fabled “Jade Suad” and the FBI nearly ten years to untangle Patrick Radden Keefe has uickly become one of my favorite non fiction writers I came to this book after reading his latest Say Anything and I am gobsmacked that not only isare the storystories in Snakehead true but happened where I live albeit before my time here I highly recommend this book and his other work including his New Yorker writings Radden Keefe painstakingly investigates and researches his books for years and it makes the wait to read his work worth it He is an incredible writer and investigates material that is utterly fascinating I can t wait to read his next book A


About the Author: Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Snakehead and Chatter His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine Slate New York and The New York Review of Books He received the 2014 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing for his story A Loaded Gun was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2015 and 2016 and is also t



10 thoughts on “The Snakehead An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream

  1. says:

    According to the author a snakehead is someone who charges a huge amount of money to take people out of China and into other

  2. says:

    The Snake Head by Patrick Radden KeefeThis history of the Chinese smuggling trade into the United States was penned in 200

  3. says:

    All of the elements of a thriller are here murder corruption double crosses huge sums of cash intimidation among others but it reall

  4. says:

    Snakehead is a term for people who bring foreigners into a country illegally outside of immigration laws Mostly through the book the storyline follows a particularly successful snakehead Sister Ping The book details Sister Ping and other snakeheads smuggling Chinese citizens to the US as well as their plentiful helpers from many

  5. says:

    Patrick Radden Keefe has uickly become one of my favorite non fiction writers I came to this book after reading his latest “Say Anything” and I am gobsmacked that not only isare the storystories in “Snakehead” true but happened where

  6. says:

    Starts as a true crime story June 6 1993 On Rockaway beach New York about 250 Chinese wash ashore A few strong swimmers have dry clothes in a

  7. says:

    The Snakehead provides a thorough and well researched look at both sides of the immigration fence Keefe does a very good job of explaining the political and social complexities that lie behind American immigration policy Keefe also shows the constancy of demand for human smuggling and the difficulty of combating

  8. says:

    Truly fascinating Keefe did an awesome amount of research and organized the overlapping stories on different continents so that the pacing was right Epic in scope and mouth dropping in detail these interlocked stories touch

  9. says:

    A huge book that spans a massive network it helped me comprehend what we talk about when we talk about migration not as much in the human sense but in the gears that grind it along and churn billions of dollars out of it along the way He is so intimate with the subject matter and without knowing any Chinese that it makes sense of it all and is still a page turner A reminder also of how different the dialogue

  10. says:

    At a time when illegal immigration again tops the US news this book is a timely detailed and fascinating behind the scenes look at the world of human trafficking specifically the smuggling of illegal immigrants from China into the USA In exuisite detail the author traces the smuggling route from the south China coast to its rugged

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