Yankee Tsunami: An Engulfing Wave

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Xlibris Corporation, Oct 1, 2003 - Fiction - 392 pages
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Yankee Tsunami: An Engulfing Wave by Andrew R. DiConti is a historical novel that covers a period of a year (1898-99) aboard the USS Boston, an innovative warship for the period. The adventures and exploits of Gamble Crane, a newly billeted crewmember, is a continuation of Yankee Tsunami: The Ocean Erupts, which began his adventures in exotic ports. Crane's taboo romance with Emily Chan, a girl of Chinese ancestry from Monterey, California, becomes complicated. Both lovers are American citizens, yet the mixing of the races in 1899 is viewed as scandalous. Crane's love for Emily is precipitated by their adventure that frees two young girls forced into the slavery of prostitution. This event begins Crane's metamorphosis of understanding. Learning of Emily's struggle to gain acceptance in the white community of Monterey begins the conversion of Crane into an advocate for human rights of non-white peoples in each port visited by the Boston. Gamble now empathizes with the struggle of people living on the rim of the Pacific, called "heathens" by whites.

With Gamble Crane as our guide, we learn what the world was like as told by the Pacific Rim peoples. We are exposed to the unsettling effects brought to bear by Manifest Destiny, America's governing principle seen by many in the region as racist.

From that point, Crane views his encounters from a different perspective. Be it Okumura-san, an important Japanese government official in Nagasaki; Lanakila, the Kahuna Nui of Honolulu; Donaldina Cameron, the avenging angel of Chinatown; Agamemnon Asher, a shipmate who's like a brother; or Montague, a retired shipmate and expert in Asian culture - they all have an indelible impact upon the life of Gamble Crane.

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If you're interested about California history around 1900, the Yankee Tsunami trilogy will give you a lot of insight on what the attitude of the general public was towards other than white citizens. The Chinese, brought by Crocker to build the trans-continental railroad, and later to build levies to control the annual flooding in the central valleys, were especially set upon. The aborginal peoples (Native Americans) were not even looked at as worthy humans. Although this is not how all whites viewed these people, it represents a snapshot of public sentiment that later was supported by politicians who enacted laws to impede and restrict these under valued residents of the state.
If fellow residents in America were treated in such a manner, it is not hard to see how the philosophy of "Manifest Destiny" was the impetus of America's national policy towards other non-white nations in the Pacific Rim. With the takeover of the monarchy of Hawaii by American planters with the aide of the American Navy, and the subsequent imperialistic control of formally Spanish colonies in the Pacific, America had become a world power.
The trilogy illustrates through fictional events the process and mentality of America's leaders in the very pivotal time in America's history.

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