Book Reviews and References

refrencesThis category is comprised of reviews of recently published books and articles, annotated bibliographies on scholars of Korean Americans, and other types of bibliographical information. Generally speaking, this section functions as a reference guide for published works (with the exception of the dissertations) in social science studies focusing on Korean Americans.

The book reviews focus on English-language books on Korean Americans published in the United States. However, we are also open to including English-language books on overseas Koreans as a whole or a particular overseas Korean group settled in another country. The books should be single-authored or edited anthologies that are academically oriented. From time to time, we will also select Korean-language books focusing on particular issues related to Korean-American experiences. If you are interested in submitting a book review/summary, please contact RCKC's web manager at for more details.  

This bibliography of English-language social science literature on Korean Americans is intended to be a resource for scholars conducting research on Korean Americans. This document is divided into two main sections: (1) single-authored books and edited anthologies and (2) journal articles and book chapters. Because of the volume of literature on Korean Americans, which has increased significantly since the first version of this report was released in 2010, the journal articles and book chapters have been categorized into different topics, whereas the single-authored monographs and edited anthologies are in one big section titled "Books and Edited Anthologies." The journal articles and book chapters have been categorized according the following topics: (1) History, (2) Immigration and Settlement Patterns, (3) Socioeconomic Attainments and Assimilation, (4) Business and Business-related Inter-Group Conflicts, (5) Gender, Women, Family, the Elderly, and Social Services, (6) Ethnicity and Transnationalism, (7) Adoptees, War Brides, and Other Marginalized Korean Americans, (8) Korean Community, Ethnic Organizations, and Political Development, (9) Religious Practices and Religious Organizations, (10) Children, Education, and Psychology, (11) Health, and (12) Koreans in General. This document will not only help researchers understand research trends, but will also hopefully help them find research issues that are of interest to them. While every attempt has been made to compile a comprehensive bibliography, due to the vastness of research, we realize that we have overlooked some academic social science work. If you know of any published English-language books and/or journal articles on Korean Americans that are not included in this bibliography, please contact us at and let us know. We will update this document periodically.


Min Chung Book Cover Younger Generation

Younger-Generation Korean Experiences in the United States is an edited anthology that compares two different cohorts of Korean Americans in the formation of ethnic and racial identities using thirteen personal essays written by 1.5-generation and second-generation Korean Americans. The first cohort grew up in the 1960s and early 1970s while the second cohort grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s. Each of the essays explores four influential factors of ethnic identity formation: (1) retention of ethnic culture versus adaptation into mainstream American culture, (2) participation in ethnic social networks, (3) connections/links to the mother country or lack thereof, and (4) experiences with racial prejudice and discrimination. The first three factors pertain to internal factors while the last one is an external factor.

The great increase in the Korean population in the United States, the accompanying increase in ethnic and social service organizations, and South Korea’s emergence as an economic and cultural power contributed to the later cohort’s greater retention of their cultural heritage compared to the earlier cohort. The substantial decrease in racism against Asian Americans also contributed to the second cohort’s acceptance of Korean-American ethnic identity more comfortably than the first cohort.

Although there is a great deal of academic literature on ethnic identity and the “new second-generation” children of post-1965 immigrants to the U.S., there are very few books that use personal narratives as the primary mechanism to explore these sociological topics. Furthermore, this book makes a particularly significant contribution to studies of 1.5- and second-generation ethnic identity formation since it contains essays by two different cohorts of Korean Americans, all of whom addressed similar points of comparison. This book will be useful and interesting to both scholars and lay readers, particularly to U.S.-born children of immigrants.


In the last fifty years, transnational adoption—specifically, the adoption of Asian children—has exploded in popularity as an alternative path to family making. Despite the cultural acceptance of this practice, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the factors that allowed Asian international adoption to flourish. In Global Families, Catherine Ceniza Choy unearths the little-known historical origins of Asian international adoption in the United States. Beginning with the post-World War II presence of the U.S. military in Asia, she reveals how mixed-race children born of Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese women and U.S. servicemen comprised one of the earliest groups of adoptive children.

Based on extensive archival research, Global Families moves beyond one-dimensional portrayals of Asian international adoption as either a progressive form of U.S. multiculturalism or as an exploitative form of cultural and economic imperialism. Rather, Choy acknowledges the complexity of the phenomenon, illuminating both its radical possibilities of a world united across national, cultural, and racial divides through family formation and its strong potential for reinforcing the very racial and cultural hierarchies it sought to challenge.

Rebecca Kim Book Cover Image   The Spirit Moves West

With the extraordinary growth of Christianity in the global south has come the rise of “reverse missions,” in which countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America send missionaries to re-evangelize the West. In The Spirit Moves West, Rebecca Kim uses South Korea as a case study of how non-Western missionaries target Americans, particularly white Americans. She draws on four years of interviews, participant observation, and surveys of South Korea’s largest non-denominational missionary-sending agency, University Bible Fellowship, in order to provide an inside look at this growing phenomenon. Known as the “Asian Protestant Superpower,” South Korea is second only to the United States in the number of missionaries it sends abroad: approximately 22,000 in over 160 countries. Conducting her research both in the U.S. and in South Korea, Kim studies the motivations and methods of these Korean evangelicals who have, since the 1970s, sought to “bring the gospel back” to America.

By offering the first empirically-grounded examination of this much-discussed phenomenon, Kim explores what non-Western missions will mean to the future of Christianity in America and around the world. 

Prof Min Koreans in North America Book Cover

Koreans in North America is an edited anthology that focuses on Korean-American and Korean-Canadian experiences in the twenty-first century. Six of the eleven chapters were written by the editor, Pyong Gap Min, while the remaining five chapters were written by social science professors of Korean descent in the U.S. and Canada. 

This book contains a good balance of statistical data and qualitative information. There are no other books that cover such a wide range of topics related to North American Korean experiences. Additionally, this is the only book that covers different aspects of both Korean-American and Korean-Canadian experiences. Particular attention is paid to changes over time in many different facets of Korean life in North America, including settlement patterns, entrepreneurship, transnationalism, and identity issues. 

The first three substantive chapters provide quantitative data on changing patterns of Korean immigration to the U.S., Korean Americans’ settlement patterns, and Korean immigrant businesses in New York. Chapter 5 compares Korean Protestant, Catholic, and Buddhist religious institutions in New York. Chapters 6 and 7 provide survey data on Korean immigrants’ transnational ties to Korea. Chapter 8 examines the division of gender roles and marital power among two groups of wives of Korean international students. Chapters 9 and 10 focus on identity issues among second-generation Korean Americans. The last chapter provides a critical review of the literature on Korean Americans and a comprehensive bibliography. This book will be useful to beginning researchers, social workers, community leaders, and policy makers, as well as to scholars. 


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