Distant Magnets: Expectations and Realities in the Immigrant Experience

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In this illuminating book, an international array of distinguished scholars focus on an important but largely undocumented issue in immigration history: What did immigrants to industrializing Europe and America expect of life in those "distant magnets" to which they migrated in such large numbers from the mid-nineteenth century through the late 1920's? What were their dreams, illusions, myths, fears, and hopes? How were they received in their new societies, and how did they fare? What did they think about and how...
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Overview

In this illuminating book, an international array of distinguished scholars focus on an important but largely undocumented issue in immigration history: What did immigrants to industrializing Europe and America expect of life in those "distant magnets" to which they migrated in such large numbers from the mid-nineteenth century through the late 1920's? What were their dreams, illusions, myths, fears, and hopes? How were they received in their new societies, and how did they fare? What did they think about and how did they feel? To convey the breadth and diversity of the migration, the volume documents the experiences of peasant and working-class emigrants from England, Ireland, Scandinavia, Italy, Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Balkans, and East European Jewish communities. This comparative perspective enables the authors to distinguish similarities and differences among diverse immigrant groups, experiences, and destinations. Drawing on rare firsthand accounts and moving personal documents - letters, diaries, guidebooks, the labor and immigrant press, songs, poems, plays, novels - the essays chronicle the psychological and social as well as economic and political aspects of the immigrant experience. Evoking the rich texture and diversity of immigrant experience and mentalities, this unique and engaging work makes an important contribution to our understanding of the complex processes of migration and acculturation. The book will be essential for all readers interested in immigration, labor, and ethnic history, and in the personal dimension of the immigrant story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780841913028
  • Publisher: Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Series: Ellis Island Series
  • Pages: 312
  • Lexile: 1590L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

1 From Dreams to Possibilities: The Secularization of Hope and the Quest for Independence 1
2 Paris: City of Light and Shadow 34
3 Vienna around 1900: Images, Expectations, and Experiences of Labor Migrants 52
4 America and the Ruhr Basin in the Expectations of Polish Peasant Migrants 84
5 Across the Ocean or over the Border: Expectations and Experiences of Italians from Piedmont in New Jersey and Southern France 105
6 The Dream of Independence: The "America" of England's North Staffordshire Potters 128
7 Scandinavian Migrants' Images and the Americanization of the Work Process 160
8 Hungarian Images of America: The Sirens' Song of Tinkling Dollars 180
9 Images of America among Slovene and Other Yugoslav Migrants 199
10 From "Promised Land" to "Bitter Land": Italian Migrants and the Transformation of a Myth 222
11 From Myth to Reality: America in the Eyes of East European Peasant Migrant Laborers 241
12 Paddy's Paradox: Emigration to America in Irish Imagination and Rhetoric 264
Notes on Contributors 294
Index 297
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