The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jul 21, 2009 - True Crime - 304 pages
In this thrilling panorama of real-life events, Patrick Radden Keefe investigates a secret world run by a surprising criminal: a charismatic middle-aged grandmother, who from a tiny noodle shop in New York’s Chinatown managed a multi-million dollar business smuggling people.
Keefe reveals the inner workings of Sister Ping’s complex empire and recounts the decade-long FBI investigation that eventually brought her down. He follows an often incompetent and sometimes corrupt INS as it pursues desperate immigrants risking everything to come to America, and along the way, he paints a stunning portrait of a generation of illegal immigrants and the intricate underground economy that sustains and exploits them. Grand in scope yet propulsive in narrative force, The Snakehead is both a kaleidoscopic crime story and a brilliant exploration of the ironies of immigration in America.

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User Review  - Hagelstein -

Chinatown in New York City has always seemed a bit mysterious – in the larger city but not totally of it. In this deeply researched and very well-written book, Patrick Radden Keefe tells the story of ... Read full review

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User Review  - gayla.bassham - LibraryThing

A thought-provoking, timely, and utterly captivating true-crime tale -- the story of a crime syndicate whose purpose was to smuggle Chinese immigrants into the US. Well worth the read. Read full review


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About the author (2009)

Patrick Radden Keefe is a fellow at The Century Foundation and the author of Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping. A graduate of Columbia University and Yale Law School, and the recipient of a Marshall Scholarship and a Guggenheim Fellowship, he is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Slate, and many other publications. The Snakehead was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, awarded by the Journalism School at Columbia University for excellence in American nonfiction writing.

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