As timely as the latest newspaper headline and political debate, Osborne’s latest nonfiction volume offers historical context for the issue of immigration.
“Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the British, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them.” Benjamin Franklin’s remark from 1751 sounds eerily familiar over 250 years later, as Americans still grapple with the challenges of immigration. The title, a play on the words of Woody Guthrie’s 1940 folk song, implies the issue: “Is it our land, the land of the people who already live here….Or is it our land, including the people who still come here for freedom and opportunity?” Osborne, a great-granddaughter of Italian immigrants, writes with an open-hearted belief in the United States’ legacy as a nation of immigrants but doesn’t overlook the challenges, past and present. Who should be allowed to enter the United States? How many? Should we build a wall? How do we prevent terrorism? Clear and accessible prose, a colorful design, and numerous quotations keep the volume personal and lively, never textbook-ish. Chapters are divided by waves of immigration, so the parallels among the generations of immigrants become clear.
Fascinating reading for both browsers and those seeking a more thorough understanding of immigration. (appendix, timeline, source notes, bibliography, credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)