Children's LiteratureThey began their journey across the Atlantic Ocean, hoping to find opportunity, wealth and a better life. While many people are aware of the European immigration, Milton Meltzer has written a book that explains the exact nature of that stage in American history. He begins by describing the three stages of European immigration, and discusses topics such as the different people and cultures and when they migrated. The issues of the immigrant ghettos, sweatshops and immigrant life once they arrived in America are discussed. Meltzer works to create a thorough history of European migration, writing about the hardships, discrimination and bad times faced by the people who came to America. Beginning with a discussion of early immigration during colonial times, he concludes the book with the current state of immigration, covering such areas as the law, problems with discrimination against immigrants and attaining United States citizenship. Photographs and illustrations bring to life the information in this book. As with other books in the "Great Journeys" series, Milton Meltzer writes a book intended for the younger reader but valuable to readers of any age. This book will make a great addition to any middle school or high school collection. 2002, Benchmark Books, $31.36. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: John D. Orsborn
School Library JournalGr 6-10-Before focusing on emigration from Europe from about the 1820s to the 1920s, Meltzer considers the topic of migration itself. He invites his readers to think about the reasons that people left their homelands and explains that more Europeans moved within their countries than across the Atlantic during this period. He then explores the specific forces (economic and otherwise) in Ireland, Germany, Eastern Europe, Italy, and other places that motivated people to immigrate. The remaining chapters focus on the trials of endurance in crossing the ocean in steerage, going through the immigration process, beginning a new life in sweatshops and slums, and, ultimately, becoming American. At the same time he emphasizes how the experience of immigrants depended on each individual's skills and social background. A short chapter on immigrants since the end of the 1960s concludes the book. Meltzer knows how to pace his presentation, and his style is always lucid and graceful. Well-chosen black-and-white photos and reproductions complement this excellent volume.-Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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