Though problematic in many ways, the volume is widely understood by scholars as a breakthrough in terms of its scope and ambition. It contains writings by Carlos Bulosan, Diana Chang, Louis Chu, Momoko Iko, Wallace Lin, Toshio Mori, John Okada, Oscar Penaranda, Sam Tagatac, Hisaye Yamamoto, and Wakako Yamauchi. It contains two substantial introductory essays, one focused on Japanese- and Chinese-American experiences, and one focused on Filipino-American literature.
One of the features of the anthology that seem especially problematic today is the all-male group of editors and the predominance of male authors in the selections included in the work.
The volume was subsequently reprinted as The Big Aiiieeeee! in 1991, with a substantially different arrangement of authors. (The Big Aiiieeeee! expands its coverage of Japanese American and Chinese American authors, and eliminates coverage of Filipino American writers.)
Table of Contents:
- Preface. By Frank Chin, Jeffrey Paul Chan, Lawson Fusao Inada, Shawn Hsu Wong. Opening paragraphs: "Asian-Americans are not one people but several--Chinese Americans, Japanese-Americans, and Filipino-Americans. Chinese- and Japanese-Americans have been separated by geography, cutlure, and history from China and Japan for seven and four generations respectively. They have evolved cutlures and sensibilities distinctly not Chinese or Japanese and distinctly not white American. Even the Asian languages as they exist today in America have been adjusted and developed to express a sensitivity created by a new experience. In America, Chinese and Japanese-American culture and history have been inextricably linked by confusion, the popularization of their hatred for each other, and World War II.
"Filipino America differs greatly from Chinese and Japanese America in its history, the continuity of culture between the Philippines and America, and the influence of western European and Amerian culture on the Philippines. The difference is definable only in its own terms, and therefore must be discussed separately."
- Introduction: Fifty Years of Our Whole Voice
Asian-American Writers: We Are Not New Here
- From America is in the Heart, a Novel by Carlos Bulosan
- "The Chinese in Haifa" by Jeffrey Paul Chan
- From The Frontiers of Love, a Novel, by Diana Chang
- Act I of The Chicken Coop Chinaman by Frank Chin
- From Eat a Bowl of Tea, a Novel, by Louis Chu
- Act I of The Gold Watch by Momoko Iko
- Rough Notes for Mantos by Wallace Lin
- "The Woman Who Makes Swell Doughnuts" by Toshio Mori
- From No-No Boy, a Novel by John Okada
- "Dark Fiesta" by Oscar Penaranda
- "The New Anak" by Sam Tagatag
- "Each Year Grain" by Shawn Hsu Wong
- "Yoneko's Earthquake" by Hisaye Yamamoto
- "And the Sould Shall Dance" by Wakako Yamauchi