A True Story from the U.S. Civil War
"SINGULAR" New York Times June 21, 1891
Chinese Yankee by Ruthanne Lum McCunn tells the true story of Hong Kong born Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way), an orphan brought to America for schooling in the mid-1850s, but enslaved in Baltimore. Only sixteen at the outbreak of war, Thomas ran north, joined the Freedom Army, and was blinded in the first major campaign. He failed to fully recover his sight and, deemed incapable of performing the duties of a soldier, was discharged. Yet he reenlisted twice, saved his regiment's colors during the bloodbath of Spotsylvania, was lamed at Cold Harbor, and survived 9 months imprisonment in the dreaded Andersonville stockade. His health broken, but his spirit intact, he battled for survival and justice for his family and himself until his death in 1891. He was, as the New York Times noted, "singular."
- "[Chinese Yankee] is an extraordinary story that still resonates 150 years later. With her empathy for the central character and her engaging and accessible prose, McCunn is ideally qualified to tell the tale."
- Stuart Heaver, Hong Kong South China Morning Post,
November 1, 2014.
- "Ruthanne Lum McCunn tells the truly remarkable story of Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way) with both a historian's skill at providing details and contexts and a novelist's talents for story and suspense. She engages
her audience, draws them in...."
- Ben Railton, americanstudier.blogspot, April 16, 2015.
|"A true Civil War story that brings to life a uniquely American hero, CHINESE YANKEE gives the reader history that speaks to the heart with the aches of struggle, the challenges of identity, and the search for love against all odds."
Gus Lee, China Boy; Courage: The Backbone of Leadership; and With Schwarzkopf.
"Riveting. Couldn't put it down! Couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It's one thing to see a faded black and white picture, quite another to read it in living color, flesh and bone, joy and sorrow."
Carol Shively, editor, Asians and Pacific Islanders and the Civil War
"Uncovering remarkable documentary evidence, Ruthanne Lum McCunn skillfully details the life of Union soldier Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way). A fascinating read that helps us better understand American society during this critical period in our history. Read it."
Franklin Odo, Project Director for Theme Study on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, NPS
- Publisher: Design Enterprises of San Francisco
- Trade Paper: 978-0-932538-96-3, $16.00 (5-1/2" x 8-1/2", 272 pages)
ePub e-Book: 978-0-932538-97-0, $8.99
Kindle e-Book: 978-0-932538-98-7, $8.99
- Library of Congress Control Number: 2014947550