Books: From a Different Shore

In a memoir about growing up Asian American, Eric Liu adds a fresh voice to the race debate

When he was in high school, Eric Liu labored desperately not to be defined by his race. He made himself into a "Renaissance boy"--a wrestler and musician, prizewinning scientist and newspaper editor--all to avoid the stereotypes commonly affixed to young Asian-American males. As Liu writes in his new book, The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker (Random House; 206 pages; $23), his effort to distinguish himself didn't always work: "In the eyes of some, I suppose, I was simply another Asian 'overachiever.'"

This book should change that. The Accidental Asian provides a perspective on race often ignored in America's black-white...

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