Tuesday, January 29, 2008



Family Trio, L-R Liu Ying Wong (Lulu), mother Gin Tony Lee, Liu Tsong Wong (Anna May Wong, 1908. Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"Anthony B. Chan...[divides] his book into three sections. One is a bio spanning childhood in L.A.'s Chinese community to her stardom in silent and sound films in Hollywood and Europe. Another addresses everything from Wong's attitudes toward Asian cultures to her Taoist religious beliefs. The third dissects Wong's work in her most celebrated roles, including Toll of the Sea and Shanghai Express."—VARIETY

"Winsome and willowy, Wong made an unforgettable impact on Hollywood with her portrayals of dragon ladies and lotus blossoms during a time when racism raged and Asians were rarely seen in American movies. Criticized by Chinese for her scanty outfits and for perpetuating stereotypes, Wong was also revered for daring to demand parity with her white counterparts. During her illustrious career, she appeared in more than 60 features, making the transition from silent films to talkies to, later, television. She also performed in stage plays and vaudeville, and acted in three languages. No other Asian American actor before or since has matched her accomplishments."—NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY

"...suitable in collections extending to the culture of film."—CHOICE

"...passionately explores...themes from a distinctively Asian American perspective...sets [Wong's] story in the context of the history of Chinese-Americans."—Richard James Havis, CINEASTE

"It [is] most interesting when instructing us on how early Chinese-American immigrants made their way and on the legal and social restraints under which they lived."—Robert Gottlieb, THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS


"A welcome edition to any library's Asian American and film collections and would be appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate students."—ASIAN AFFAIRS

"[A] detailed analyses of some of Wong's most famous films. Each chapter could stand alone as a scholarly discussion of film and cultural theory as well as a biographical account of the actress's life....sheds new light on this remarkable woman."—FOREWORD MAGAZINE

"...tantalizingly intriguing..."—SEATTLE WEEKLY


"Perpetually Cool is more analytical and more concerned with placing Wong in the context of Chinese and Chinese American history. As the title suggests (Chan) sees her as an innate hipster and compares her performance in Piccadilly to Marlon Brando's turn in The Wild One."—J. Hoberman, VILLAGE VOICE

"Chan's take on Anna May Wong is a breath of fresh air! Perpetually Cool shines the spotlight on the woman behind the myth. Chan's portrayal of Anna May Wong as an ancestral forerunner of overseas Chinese feminism is a real tour de force. This book is spicy, intoxicating and journalistically sound, a welcome addition to our growing canon of East-West stories."—Christina M. Wong, regular contributor to CBC Radio

"Chan's book details the life and career of an important Chinese-American actress whose work has been neglected. Like Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge, Anna May Wong was a talented, beautiful woman of color limited by the restrictions of the Hollywood film industry. Her personal and professional story is an engrossing read for anyone interested in our social and cultural history"—Al Sampson, SIMA Institute of Media Arts


"Anthony B. Chan helps a new generation discover the phenomenon of Anna May Wong. With a historian's flair for social context, Professor Chan not only conveys the complexity of this singular Asian American actress, but he also shows how she was both constrained and emboldened by the times into which she was born. This book is a fitting tribute to a woman whose perpetually cool style was at least matched, if not exceeded, by her shrewd ability to beat the odds."—Kevin Kawamoto, Media Scholar

"Perpetually Cool celebrates the determination and style of Anna May Wong, whose strength of character has inspired me in my passion as a designer. Through Ms. Wong's universally understood story, this book provides an astounding portrayal of the Chinese American experience. With clarity, passion, and integrity, Professor Chan helps us to understand the enigma that is Ms. Wong"—Maggie Norris, Designer

"Born Wong Liu Tsong in Los Angeles in 1905, Anna May Wong became Hollywood's first Chinese-American movie star. In this biography, independent filmmaker Chan (communication, U. of Washington) tells the story of Wong's life and examines the effects of racist ideologies on her career. The volume concludes with textual analyses of Wong's signature films, including The Thief of Bagdad(1924) and Shanghai Express(1932). This is the first paperback edition of a volume first published in 2003."—May 2007, REFERENCE & RESEARCH BOOK NEWS


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