AMERICA'S IMMIGRANTS: Adventures in Eyewitness History by Rhoda Hoff

AMERICA'S IMMIGRANTS: Adventures in Eyewitness History

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After colonization came a new dichotomy--immigrants vis a vis Americans--and one of the more valuable aspects of this anthology of experiences from the 1790's to World War II is that they weren't all pleasant; neither were poverty and ignorance the only problems of the newcomers--exploitation, prejudice and corruption contributed to their disenchantment, and some, notably from the British Isles, longed for the stability they had left. Later arrivals, with more to gain, faced their difficulties with more determination, the Scandinavians individually on arms, the Eastern and Southern Europeans together (sometimes in unions, in the cities. Insight into attitudes and description of daily circumstances are provided by the letters and recollections of ordinary immigrants; something of why they came and what they faced is revealed in the text of prospectuses and regulations; autobiographical excerpts (Bok, Carnegie, Riis, Pupin, Adamic, Bercovici) single out the prerequisites for success. Two complementary selections bear on Chinese immigration--the text of circulars recruiting labor in Hong Kong and a later letter by an educated Chinese protesting their proposed expulsion. A variety of short materials can easily disintegrate into confusion; by and large, this is a kaleidoscope that coalesces.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1967
Publisher: Walck