Not Your China Doll: The Wild and Shimmering Life of Anna May Wong

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2024
12 hours 36 minutes
“Enlightening, nuanced, and honest.”—Lisa See

Set against the glittering backdrop of Los Angeles during the gin-soaked Jazz Age and the rise of Hollywood, this debut book celebrates Anna May Wong, the first Asian American movie star, to bring an unsung heroine to light and reclaim her place in cinema history.

One of Entertainment Weekly's 'Books We Are Excited to Read in 2024'
Before Constance Wu, Sandra Oh, Awkwafina, or Lucy Liu, there was Anna May Wong. In her time, she was a legendary beauty, witty conversationalist, and fashion icon. Plucked from her family’s laundry business in Los Angeles, Anna May Wong rose to stardom in Douglas Fairbanks’s blockbuster The Thief of Bagdad. Fans and the press clamored to see more of this unlikely actress, but when Hollywood repeatedly cast her in stereotypical roles, she headed abroad in protest.
Anna May starred in acclaimed films in Berlin, Paris, and London. She dazzled royalty and heads of state across several nations, leaving trails of suitors in her wake. She returned to challenge Hollywood at its own game by speaking out about the industry’s blatant racism. She used her new stature to move away from her typecasting as the China doll or dragon lady, and worked to reshape Asian American representation in film.
Filled with stories of capricious directors and admiring costars, glamorous parties and far-flung love affairs, Not Your China Doll showcases the vibrant, radical life of a groundbreaking artist.
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Philip H.

An amazing story of a woman unafraid to challenge the hurdles placed in front of her ambitions to be the best actress in Hollywood. Salisbury wrote this biography like a dramatic story rather than a documentary. I found it much easier to visualize Anna May Wong's hardships, feelings, determination, and joys compared to seeing a list of her accomplishments. As the author states in her epilogue, perhaps Anna May may not have achieved what she strove for during her life, but her life makes a great Hollywood story for a movie, and she is being recognized in ways she could never have imagined.

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