In our modern age concerns centering on multiculturalism, immigration, and cultural diversity all are fodder for debate. Yet, these issues have a long history in the United States. This offering of "The Drama of American History" series deals with the first two great waves of immigrants who fled to these shores in search of a new and better life. Beginning with the first large-scale movement of the pre to post Civil War era the authors dedicate attention to specific ethnic and national groups who were the pioneers of immigration to this land. Primarily Irish and German in derivation these early immigrants came to the Unites States for a combination of economic, political, and religious reasons. Although they faced great odds the immigrants of the first wave who came primarily from northern and Western Europe were able to carve out their niche in the New World. The second wave of immigrants who crossed the seas in the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was made up of more heterogeneous populations. Italians, Russians, Poles, and other Slavic people faced even more stigmatization than the earlier immigrants did. Japanese and Chinese sojourners, as well as Jewish immigrants, also came as part of the second wave. All of these divergent peoples were more prone to social rejection and prejudice. The issues of religious, linguistic, cultural, and racial difference created significant backlash against those second wave immigrants. All of these factors are touched upon and detailed by the authors as they provide a vivid description of the movement of people to our melting pot and mixing bowl of a nation. This is an excellent book in a fine historical series.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Although many history books for children aim only at an objective presentation of the facts, the Colliers have opted for interpretational history. As the series preface states, the authors are interested in "citizenship education" and in presenting "the basic themes of the American story, and what they mean to us now." In Immigration, they explain that conditions in the immigrants' homelands and in the U.S., including racial and ethnic prejudice, class distinctions, and maltreatment of the powerless by the powerful, created the vast waves of movement that had such an impact on this country in the 19th century. Yet, only a generation or two later, immigrants or their children often expressed anti-immigrant sentiments against new arrivals. Likewise, in Industry, the tremendous economic boon to the U.S. is not trumpeted to the exclusion of the abuse of workers-including children-by early industry giants, and the deep philanthropy of some figures is explicitly tied to the wealth gained by owners at the expense of employees. By focusing on broad themes, the Colliers are able to show cause and effect over several decades and to make the sweep of time "bite-sized" and intelligible. The frequent full-color and black-and-white period photographs and engravings effectively supplement and enrich the texts.-Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|