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The Snakehead {Book Review}

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The Snakehead {Book Review}

Feige Lewin
  • Non-Fiction by Patrick Radden Keefe
The Snakehead by Patrick Radden Keefe

The Snakehead by Patrick Radden Keefe

Published by: Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Genre: CrimeNon-FictionInvestigative JournalismHistory

ISBN:  978-1-5290-9988-1

Pages: 344

Would recommend without being asked

Would recommend if asked

Would never recommend

She was a banker of sorts, and something else as well. She was what the Chinese call a shetou, or snakehead, a kind of immigration broker who charges steep fees to smuggle people out of China and into other countries. She had pioneered the China-to-Chinatown route in the early 1980s, and from her humble shop on East Broadway she had developed a reputation as one of the most reliable – and successful – snakeheads on the planet.

The Snakehead

Chapter One, Page 21

In a Nutshell

In this thrilling investigative journalism book, Patrick Radden Keefe takes true real life events and turns them into what reads as a novel. This story documents the rise and fall of surprising crime boss Sister Ping, who from a tiny shop in New York’s Chinatown, managed a multimillion-dollar human-smuggling ring. Beyond Sister Ping, the Snakehead is a portrait of a generation of undocumented immigrants and the intricate underground economy that simultaneously sustains and exploits them.

Book Club Notes

This book excels in turning reporting into expert storytelling. It’s well written, educational, suspenseful and eye opening. There wasn’t one story in the book that I was familiar with and the topic isn’t one that I have previously taken an interest in but it’s delivered so well that you don’t need either to enjoy it.

Read If

You love learning more about the world, enjoy investigative journalism told in a story format or have an interest in Chinese migration to America.

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