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A People's History of the Hmong

A People's History of the Hmong

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Author Paul Hillmer

Minnesota Historical Society Press (January 2, 2015)

A rich narrative history of the worldwide community of Hmong people, exploring their cultural practices, war and refugee camp experiences, and struggles and triumphs as citizens of new countries.


Over the centuries, the Hmong have called many places home, including China, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and most recently France, Australia, and the United States. Their new neighbors, though welcoming, may know little about how they have come to these places or their views on relationships, religion, or art. Now, in A Peoples's History of the Hmong, representative voices offer their community's story, spanning four thousand years to the present day.

"This was the life of our Hmong people," remembers Pa Seng Thao, one of many who describe farming villages in the mountains of Laos. Others help us understand the Hmong experience during the Vietnam War, particularly when the U.S. military pulled out of Laos, abandoning thousands of Hmong allies. Readers learn firsthand of the hardships of refugee camps and the challenges of making a home in a foreign country, with a new language and customs. Drawing on more than two hundred interviews, historian Paul Hillmer assembles a compelling history in the words of the people who lived it.

Author information

Paul Hillmer is a professor of American history and the director of the Hmong Oral History Project at Concordia University in St. Paul. His six-part History Channel-funded documentary, From Strangers to Neighbors, examines Hmong people and their resettlement in the Twin Cities.

Reviews and news

“This book provides the single most comprehensive overview of Hmong culture and history since Sucheng Chan’s pathbreaking edited work Hmong Means Free . . . The book is clearly a cooperative and highly laudable co-production between Hillmer and many members of the Hmong American community.” CHOICE

"[T]his book probes the possibilities of history, providing at once a clearer and a more complicated understanding of a people in the making." --Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer

Star Tribune

Pioneer Press

Hmong Times


Twin Cities Daily Planet

MN Reads Interview on KUMD

Minneosta Alumni Magazine

Video book trailer

A People's History of the Hmong Video Book Trailer

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 336 pages
  • 50 B&W PHOTOS, 2 MAPS
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873519601

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