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

Extended Audio Sample The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream, by Patrick Radden Keefe Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (498 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Patrick Radden Keefe Narrator: Feodor Chi Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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. Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Liz | 2/9/2014

    " This was good. I was going to give it three stars but decided that since I read it in two sittings, it must merit four. The dramatic sequence of a ship full of smuggled Chinese immigrants running aground in NYC and their perilous journey around the world is a great opening. Later, the book focuses more on legal maneuvering and the eventual punishments handed down to two main "snakeheads" (smugglers). The narrative bogs down a bit, but is revived by stories of what happened to the passengers of the ship that ran aground. I think U.S. policymakers should keep one outcome in mind: Of the roughly 100 passengers who were deported back to China, nearly all of them ended up back in the U.S., regardless of the expense and possibility of additional jail time in doing so illegally, again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Laura C. | 1/21/2014

    " This book, by Patric Keefe, is the meticulously researched and documented story of human smuggling into the United States from China. Keefe tells the story dispassionately, from the middle, when a boat full of Chinese refugees goes purposely aground off of Rockaway New York on June 6, 1993. He takes us both forward and backward from there, showing us the complexities of the immigration story from both sides of the table, both politically and culturally. It is a fine feat to let the story do the teaching, and Mr Keefe has done this. I was particularly struck by the cultural disconnect that makes a snakehead (slang for a person who organizes the journey) a saint to the Chinese community, and a felon to U. S. authorities. For instance, Americans see each life as precious, and our criminal justice system is based on the ideal of justice for the individual. The Chinese philosophical viewpoint is one of acceptable risk. There are just so many people, and some may die, but for the lucky ones, a better life may be won by taking the terrible gamble. The book offers no solutions. No matter which side of the argument you are on, remember this: you can never destroy humankinds' dream of a better life, and only a fool discounts culture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Remi | 1/21/2014

    " Loved it. Very informative but without being dry. The author managed to capture the emotion and thought of every party involved in this incident without making it corny either. The man definitely did his homework. But what I think I admired most was how well he managed to stay in the middle of the issue. He was sympathetic to the plight of illegal Chinese immigrants (the abject poverty, the racism) but still managed to be pragmatic: illegal immigration taxes our system...but the system we have in place to handle it is very flawed. I hope he'll be writing more true stories because I'm officially a fan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Risa | 1/19/2014

    " Fascinating story. Keefe is either a thorough researcher or a skilled liar. I'm betting on the former. "

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