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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
With calm authority and unfaltering clarity, Bergquist has written the best history ever of his subject: immigration into the United States after its colonial settlement and before the great surge through Ellis Island. What marks this book is its mix of the necessary facts (laws, policies and numbers) with deftly-told stories of individual immigrants, whose experiences offer glimpses into the struggles that most new Americans faced. The book covers the entire nation, taking into account Chinese laborers as well as Europeans. At the story's center, Bergquist brings to light the Germans-a group as prominent as the Irish yet whose diversity and divisions often relegate it to the shadows. While none of this is new, Bergquist, professor emeritus of history at Villanova, conveys it with an uncommonly easy touch. The necessary analyses don't overwhelm the story, while relevant tales of hardship, adaptation, and triumph give appealing texture to the larger picture. The perfect history for those who want to learn more about the peopling of the US. (An accompanying volume, by June Granatir Alexander, covering the years 1870-1920, is being published simultaneously.)
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