As Congress once again debates immigration reform, Barone delivers a timely history lesson.

SHAPING OUR NATION

HOW SURGES OF MIGRATION TRANSFORMED AMERICA AND ITS POLITICS

The Washington Examiner’s senior political analyst examines the internal and immigrant migrations that have “peopled” America.

Few commentators have studied the history of American politics as thoroughly as Barone (Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval that Inspired America’s Founding Fathers, 2007, etc.), and he continues his life project here with a look at our constantly churning population, mass movements that have had a continuing effect on our politics. Picking up about where David Hackett Fischer’s estimable Albion’s Seed (1989) left off, Barone looks first at the antebellum spread of the Scots-Irish from the Eastern Seaboard to the Southeast and Southwest. He turns then to four other epochal surges: the first half of the 19th-century migration of New Englanders across upstate New York and the Midwest and of planter-class Southerners from the coast to the Mississippi Valley; the 1840-1890s immigrations of Irish Catholics and German Protestants; the mass movement from rural to urban America from the end of the Civil War to World War II; and the 1970-2010 immigration of Latin Americans and Asians to major American cities. Within these larger transformations, Barone pursues a variety of intriguing subplots—Andrew Jackson as the perfect embodiment of the American Scots-Irish, the unique, “annealing effect” of WWII, the role of air conditioning in repopulating the South, and the recent exodus from high- to low-tax states—and he emphasizes two recurring themes: the unanticipated beginnings and the rather abrupt endings of these mass migrations and the widespread unease, even fear, each development engendered. How could the republic possibly absorb these changes? Barone ably demonstrates how practiced the United States has become, how sturdy our constitutional framework has proven, at accommodating the religious, economic and cultural diversities that accompany vast, unexpected additions to and shifts within our population.

As Congress once again debates immigration reform, Barone delivers a timely history lesson.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-46151-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown Forum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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