Alix's Reviews > Fortunate Sons: The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization

Fortunate Sons by Liel Leibovitz
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's review
Jan 20, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: historical, non-fiction
Read from January 14 to February 16, 2012

This is a solid 3.5 stars.

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and was initially very excited to read it, but found my interest waning toward the end of the book. It describes an interesting period of history when 120 Chinese boys were sent to America to be educated in the late 1800s, and then what transpired when they returned to China. I found the first half of the book a bit more engaging than the latter half, and I enjoyed reading about the boys' experiences together as students. I also felt that the authors did an excellent job of weaving in US history along with Chinese history and how they intersected: San Francisco Chinatown, building of the transatlantic railroad, xenophobic laws, and the Boxer Rebellion. Unfortunately, when the boys returned to China, things began to get disjointed and difficult to follow because of the sheer number of characters and the speed in which things occurred.

Going into this I had very little knowledge of Chinese history (both in America and in China), and I came out with a better grasp of the political happenings of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. I would recommend this book to those who have an interest in history (primarily Chinese, Chinese-American or American).

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