Almost Home: A Brazilian American's Reflections on Faith, Culture, and Immigration

Almost Home: A Brazilian American's Reflections on Faith, Culture, and Immigration

by H. B. Cavalcanti
     
 

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In Almost Home, H. B. Cavalcanti, a Brazilian-born scholar who has spent three decades working and living in the United States, reflects on his life as an immigrant and places his story within the context of the larger history of immigration.
    Due to both his family background and the prevalence of U.S. media in Latin America, Cavalcanti

Overview

In Almost Home, H. B. Cavalcanti, a Brazilian-born scholar who has spent three decades working and living in the United States, reflects on his life as an immigrant and places his story within the context of the larger history of immigration.
    Due to both his family background and the prevalence of U.S. media in Latin America, Cavalcanti already felt immersed in U.S. culture before arriving in Kentucky in 1981 to complete graduate studies. At that time, opportunities for advancement in the United States exceeded those in Brazil, and in an era of military dictatorships throughout much of Latin America, Cavalcanti sought in the United States a nation of laws. In this memoir, he reflects on the dynamics of acculturation, immigrant parenting, interactions with native-born U.S. citizens, and the costs involved in rejecting his country of birth for an adopted nation. He also touches on many of the factors that contribute to migration in both the “sending” and “receiving” countries and explores the contemporary phenomenon of accelerated immigration.
    With its blend of personal anecdotes and scholarly information, Almost Home addresses both individual and policy-related issues to provide a moving portrait of the impact of migration on those who, like Cavalcanti, confront both the wonder and the disorientation inherent in the immigrant experience.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Almost Home seamlessly weaves a narrative of history, sociology, and autobiography and opens the door to an entirely new genre to the study of American immigration. . . . A must-read book.”—James Olson, author of The Ethnic Dimension in American History

“Cavalcanti successfully compares his own experiences and perceptions of American life with those of other Brazilian immigrants and interweaves the findings of scholars who have written about this migration stream with his own experiences as a Brazilian in this country. He convincingly describes the difficulties of adjustment and accurately contrasts the life and values of Brazil with those of the U.S.”—Maxine L. Margolis, author of Little Brazil: An Ethnography of Brazilian Immigrants in New York City

“A wise and humane book that illuminates the modern Brazilian immigrant experience with vigor and clarity.”—Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A Brazilian-born scholar's study of Brazilian immigration to America through the lens of his experiences on the way to becoming a naturalized American citizen. Cavalcanti (Sociology/James Madison Univ.; Voices from the Valley: Rural Ministry in the United Church of Christ, 2011, etc.) examines the "bifurcated lives" of Brazilian immigrants like himself "whose lives only make sense seen from the prism of both [Brazilian and American cultures]." He discusses how, though born in Recife and raised by "very Brazilian" parents, he became well-versed in the culture of the American South through Presbyterianism, the religion his family practiced and which was brought to northern Brazil by American missionaries in the 1800s. By the time he was a young man, Cavalcanti was a cultural hybrid who was as fond of bossa nova as he was the songs of Stephen Foster and Hoagy Carmichael. However, due to his exposure to Protestant ideals of self-determination and self-reliance, he found that he could not fully accept the military dictatorships that ruled Brazil or the Iberian patronage system that "coated all aspects" of Brazilian life. And so he became part of the Latin American migrant flow to the United States, a trend that exists because "the United States...offers opportunities that we cannot find in our own countries." With a powerful blend of compassion and academic insight, the author discusses the emotional and financial costs of immigration while also celebrating the heightened awareness and personal freedom offered to individuals who stay the course in adopting a new country and culture. Cavalcanti then discusses his experiences alongside major theories of global migration and considers the social and economic factors that account for migratory trends, especially in the last 30 years. A wise and humane book that illuminates the modern Brazilian immigrant experience with vigor and clarity.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299288945
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
12/05/2012
Edition description:
1
Pages:
214
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

H. B. Cavalcanti is professor of sociology at James Madison University. He is author of Gloryland: Christian Suburbia, Christian Nation and The United Church of Christ in the Shenandoah Valley: Liberal Church, Traditional Congregations as well as coauthor of Latinos in Dixie: Class and Assimilation in Richmond, Virginia.

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