Crossing East Reviews

“Crossing East does for Asian American history what Ken Burns’ PBS series did for the Civil War. The epic scale of the productions may be the same, but the big difference is that these fascinating stories have rarely been told outside their local settings, and I’m sure have never been brought together in this way in any medium before. They touch on every region of the United States, revealing ever more layers of the nation’s complex multi-cultural heritage (to quote one of the many fine experts who participated in the series.) Interviews and readings of texts from the past are mixed with subtle, evocative sounds and music which give the production a cinematic feeling. The imagination fills in the pictures. The script is extremely well written – and George Takei is an excellent host.”

David Swatling, Radio Netherlands and Public Radio Exchange, Amsterdam April 1, 2006

“This is historical documentary radio at its best, a program that adds considerable richness to our familiar picture of America’s frontier West. It offers intimate storytelling about important Asian immigrants, people who helped build the West and held prominent places in their communities, but whom we haven’t heard about before–at least I hadn’t.  Their stories are placed in the context of sweeping history: the waves of Asian immigration and the far eastern events that prompted folks to leave Asia for America. Dmae Roberts uses all the tools: original writings by her historical characters read by actors; interviews with experts and historians; music; recorded sound; and narration by herself and George Takei. Dmae is a treasure and she’s given us one here: an ambitious series of documentaries exploring and honoring the contributions of Asian-Americans. Stations everywhere should run the series. This hour in particular is a winner for any station from the high plains to the Pacific.”

John Biewen, American Radioworks and Public Radio Exchange, May 1, 2006 

“You hear about Driveway Moments, but do you ever hear about Naive Moments? That’s when, while listening to a radio program, you face up to the fact that you don’t know a whole lot about something all around you. For example, I know nothing very substantial about Hawaii as a place where people have forged a history. This program features so much dedicated scholarship, stories and colorful detail that it has required a multitude of voices, actors mixing gently in with interview material and other sound. And yes, this is one of those projects with lots of people to acknowledge at the end – but the beautiful variety of the names in the credits somehow themselves make up a kind of poem testifying to this important effort.

These moments – of a history hardly mentioned in school or few Hollywood movies – these are the moments that public broadcasting owes its audience, I feel.”

Marjorie Van Halteren, Public Radio Exchange, Morbecque March 31, 2006