COMING TO AMERICA: Immigrants from the British Isles by Shirley & Jerome S. Ozer Blumenthal

COMING TO AMERICA: Immigrants from the British Isles

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This is the first in a series of six volumes (see Perrin, below) which will deal with immigrants to America, the conditions that drove them from their home countries, and the conditions that faced them once here. This volume is atypical in that the earliest settlers from Britain were not foreigners who had to find their place among unwelcoming Americans but colonists come to claim the land as their own. Their crossing was difficult, but once here they wrote glowingly of the land of equality and plenty. Also their story has been heavily covered in other contexts. However, Blumenthal and Ozer also give us background on why the Scots, Scotch-Irish, Irish, and Welsh came over, and then trace the later migration of the starving Irish--who aroused nativist hostility that culminated with the Know-Nothings, but who came to succeed in politics largely through what Tammany boss Plunkitt described as ""honest graft."" There are no fresh insights here and the writing is not free of platitude. However, the abundance of first-person quotes and primary-source excerpts, a series feature, gives the book a vivid readability. As one in a series or as one source for a school-related ""roots"" project, it will serve.

Pub Date: Nov. 26th, 1981
Publisher: Delacorte