Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America / Edition 1

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A dramatic retelling of our nation's past by today's preeminent multiculturalism scholar, Ronald Takaki, this book examines America's history in "a different mirror"-from the perspective of the minority peoples themselves. Beginning with the colonization of the "New World" and ending with the Los Angeles riots of 1992, this book recounts the history of America in the voices of the non-Anglo peoples of the United States-Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and others-groups who helped create this country's rich mosaic culture. In this significant work of scholarship, Professor Takaki grapples with the raw truth of American history and examines the ultimate question of what it means to be an American.

Beginning with the colonization of the "New World" and ending with the Los Angeles riots of 1992, this widely heralded book--now available in paperback--tells the story of America from the perspective of its non-Anglo peoples. "Humane, well-informed, accessible, and often incisive."--New York Times Book Review. ALA Outstanding Academic Book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a vibrantly rich, moving multicultural tapestry, Takaki ( Strangers from a Different Shore ) provides a fresh slant on American society by tracing the interwoven histories of Native Americans, Africans, Chinese, Japanese, Chicanos, Irish and Jewish immigrants. We see how 17th-century white planters, anxious to weaken an armed, politicized, white proletariat, enslaved an unarmed black workforce, with explosive consequences. We follow Chicano struggles as an integral part of America's westward expansion and learn how Jewish-black solidarity extends back to John Brown's uprising in 1856 against slavery in Kansas, an insurrection in which Jews participated. We see how oppression of the Irish (the first people the English called ``savages'') foreshadowed the subjugation of Native Americans. Interweaving voices from all points on the ethnic rainbow, Takaki, ethnic studies professor at UC Berkeley, has produced a brilliant revisionist history of America that is likely to become a classic of multicultural studies. Photos. (June)
Library Journal
In his new work, Takaki ( Strangers from a Different Shore , LJ 7/89; Iron Cages , LJ 3/1/80) calls for ``a more inclusive and accurate history of all the peoples of America.'' But the book is limited to accounts of Native Americans, Africans, Irish, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, and Eastern European Jews, prefaced with a discussion of English settlers in the 17th century. Even within these limits, this book is not the ``story of multidimensional ethnic interaction'' that the author desires. Beyond victimization, few common themes emerge. Still, the book is useful, notwithstanding the author's sometimes questionable generalizations, oversimplifications, and fuzzy chronology. Not even seasoned historians will be knowledgeable about all the groups included. Takaki fails to show us how to reunite American history, but he provides in one volume a very readable version of some lesser-known parts. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/93.-- Robert W. Frizzell, Hendrix Coll . Lib . , Conway, Ark.
School Library Journal
YA-Takaki traces the economic and political history of Indians, African Americans, Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, Irish, and Jewish people in America, with considerable attention given to instances and consequences of racism. The narrative is laced with short quotations, cameos of personal experiences, and excerpts from folk music and literature. Well-known occurrences, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the Trail of Tears, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Japanese internment are included. Students may be surprised by some of the revelations, but will recognize a constant thread of rampant racism. The author concludes with a summary of today's changing economic climate and offers Rodney King's challenge to all of us to try to get along. Students will find this overview to be an accessible, cogent jumping-off place for American history and political science assignments, plus a guide to the myriad other sources identified in the notes.- Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316831116
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 6/1/1994
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 520
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Takaki is a professor in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of six books, including Strangers from a Different Shore. He lives in Berkeley, California.
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Table of Contents

Author's Note v
1 A Different Mirror 1
Part 1 Boundlessness
Before Columbus: Vinland 21
2 The "Tempest" in the Wilderness: The Racialization of Savagery 24
Shakespeare's Dream about America 25
A World Turned Upside Down 44
3 The "Giddy Multitude": The Hidden Origins of Slavery 51
A View from the Cabins: White and Black Laborers in Early Virginia 52
"English and Negroes in Armes" 61
The Wolf by the Ears 68
Part 2 Borders
Prospero Unbound: The Market Revolution 79
4 Toward the Stony Mountains: From Removal to Reservation 84
Andrew Jackson: Symbol for an Age 84
The Land-Allotment Strategy: The Choctaw Experience 88
The Treaty Strategy: The Cherokees' Trail of Tears 93
Where the Buffalo No Longer Roam 98
5 No More Peck o' Corn: Slavery and Its Discontents 106
Racial Borders in the Free States 107
Was Sambo Real? 110
Slave Son, White Father 122
Black Nationalism: Nostalgia in the Niger 126
"Tell Linkum Dat We Wants Land" 131
6 Emigrants from Erin: Ethnicity and Class within White America 139
The Irish Exodus 139
An "Immortal Irish Brigade" of Workers 146
The Irish Maid in America 154
The Irish "Ethnic" Strategy 160
7 Foreigners in Their Native Land: Manifest Destiny in the Southwest 166
"In the Hands of an Enterprising People" 166
"Occupied" Mexico 177
The Making of a Mexican Proletariat 184
8 Searching for Gold Mountain: Strangers from a Pacific Shore 191
Pioneers from Asia 192
Chinese Calibans: The Borders of Exclusion 204
Twice a Minority: Chinese Women in America 209
A Colony of "Bachelors" 215
Part 3 Distances
The End of the Frontier 225
9 The "Indian Question": From Reservation to Reorganization 228
Wounded Knee: The Significance of the Frontier in Indian History 228
The Father of the Reservation System 231
Allotment and Assimilation 234
The Indian New Deal: The Remaking of Native America 238
10 Pacific Crossings: Seeking the Land of Money Trees 246
Picture Brides in America 247
Tears in the Canefields 251
Transforming the Land: From Deserts to Farms 266
11 Between "Two Endless Days": The Continuous Journey to the Promised Land 277
Exodus from the Pale 277
A Shtetl in America 283
In the Sweatshops: An Army of Garment Workers 288
Daughters of the Colony 293
Up from Greenhorns: Crossing Delancey Street 298
12 El Norte: The Borderland of Chicano America 311
The Crossing 312
A Reserve Army of Chicano Labor 317
The Internal Borders of Exclusion 326
The Barrio: Community in the Colony 334
13 To the Promised Land: Blacks in the Urban North 340
The Black Exodus 341
The Urban Crucible 347
Yearning for Blackness in Urban America 355
"But a Few Pegs to Fall": The Great Depression 366
Part 4 Crossings
The Ashes at Dachau 373
14 Through a Glass Darkly: Toward the Twenty-first Century 378
A War for Democracy: Fighting as One People 378
America's Dilemma 399
A Note of Appreciation 429
Notes 430
Index 495
About the Author 508
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2013

    This book should be mandatory reading for adults.  I understand

    This book should be mandatory reading for adults.  I understand there is a Young People's version, which I look forward to reading with my kids.  I think another reviewer missed the point when they said that this book omitted all of the good things.  The point of this book is to tell the UNtold story and for people to tell it in their own words, about their own experiences.  And yes, that can make some of us uncomfortable, as grim reality often does.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 24, 2011

    A Victim's Mirror

    This is a history of violence in America. While, tragically, the conflict portrayed here is largely accurate, this book is a serious lie of omission. The author has conveniently left out any and all acts of kindness, compassion, or cooperation between races.

    If your goal is to inspire, validate, or maintain racism, then this is the book for you. If your goal is to understand and heal our country, then stay away.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    A must read for people who love history and wants to know the origin and struggle of the different races in our country.

    This books talks about and exposes all the racial history and tension in America starting from when the first settlers came to America. It talks about a lot of different racial groups that were discriminated against and their fight to achieve to true definition of the American Dream.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2004

    dont like this book

    i am 14 years old in 8th grade and my teacher is making me read this book. i mean maybe if i were older and actually able to understang and pay attention to what was happening then i would like it. but i definatly do not recoment it for someone my age. it is really stressful.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2004

    multicultural effects

    The first chapter of the book highlights the situation on which people were in.Different cultures existed in America for different reasons;better lifes,escape from oppressions.By them going through the anthinkable,they ended up victorious.The economy of the Americans,them included,grew up.The sense of uniting as a whole nation with diffrent cultures,putting their differences aside,aking the advantage of some was to their better future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2004

    This book got down to the nitty gritty


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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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