COMING TO AMERICA: Immigrants from Northern Europe by Albert Robbins

COMING TO AMERICA: Immigrants from Northern Europe

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Germany, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries are the places of origin of the immigrants covered here; and indeed the volume seems little more than an indifferent attempt to cover this part of the world for the Coming to America series (see Rips, above). Robbins doesn't go into the background on home countries that filled out the picture of Chinese and Irish immigrants in previous volumes; instead there is much attention to aspects of settling America which have been widely and more sharply covered elsewhere. Readers who have missed the numerous existing, perhaps more inclusive, surveys will learn that Germans, too, were subject to disgusting crossings and to nativist prejudice once here, that some worked hard on farms and realized ""modest prosperity"" while others suffered in urban slums, that prejudice became violent, ugly, and institutionalized as a result of World War I, and--on the order of Rips' prattle--that ""George Washington was aware of the bravery and loyalty of German-American troops,"" and ""Northern European immigrants made important and valuable contributions to America."" About Scandinavian Americans we learn very little, though their arrival and routes to settlement are traced as well. Robbins notes in the introduction that the story of northern European immigrants is ""ultimately. . . a success story"" and that these people are now ""mainstream"" Americans, but the book doesn't offer much insight into how, why, and to what effect such assimilation does and does not occur.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Delacorte