Significant aspects of these men’s experience are necessarily subject to conjecture or have to be reconstructed. Despite this daunting impediment, Mr. Chang has accomplished the seemingly impossible. He has researched obscure American newspaper accounts. He has drawn on Central Pacific correspondence and financial records and made extrapolations from accounts of other contemporaneous Chinese immigrants. He has even evaluated archeological evidence. And he has written a remarkably rich, human and compelling story of the railroad Chinese ... In gripping prose, Mr. Chang evokes the challenges the Chinese railroad workers confronted ... Mr. Chang puts readers squarely into the shoes of the Chinese workers ... That book is clearly designed for an academic audience; fortunately, in Ghosts of Gold Mountain, Mr. Chang has mined expertly the extant material on the subject.
... necessary ... Though no firsthand accounts of the Railroad Chinese have survived the decades since, Chang artfully reconstructs the lives of these industrious migrants ... Through his careful scholarship, Chang serves as a passionate advocate for Chinese workers on the Central Pacific Railroad who were not wanted, but were needed. He explores workers’ strikes, and he shows how the Railroad Chinese found their agency as they worked west to east and recognized their own contributions to our modern American landscape. With this text, Chang sheds light on a forgotten history and honors the lives of the Railroad Chinese and their vital contributions to the nation.
... a meticulous, sincere effort to restore to the public mind the lives and struggles of the Chinese workers who made possible one of the great engineering miracles of the age ... Throughout the book, Chang uses his scholarship and empathy to try to make up for the frustrating lack of firsthand accounts and succeeds in painting a vivid picture of the past.