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Posted August 26, 2005
Pamela Reeves has created one of the more sensitive portraits of what used to be hailed as the American Dream. With the current tragedies occurring daily along the borders of the United States this book could not be more timely.A slice of Americana, 'Ellis Island: Gateway to the American Dream' is a superlative collection of photographs and paintings and other memorabilia that document the first person (Annie, from County Cork, Ireland) to set foot on Ellis Island on January 1, 1892 and then passes through the gradually changing times to the last person to use Ellis Island as port of entry (a Norwegian seaman) on November 12, 1954 as Ellis Island closed its portal. Yes, movies and novels and books have used this magical place to tell the tales of the hopeful immigrants seeking refuge and better lives in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. But few other authors/artists have presented this bit of history with the sensitivity of Pamela Reeves. Here are photographs in both black and white and color of humanity - joyous, sad, optimistic, defeated, tendered and beaten - the faces of the miscegenation of this land of wholly mixed heritages. The results are mesmerizing, at times uplifting, and at other times heartrending.Perhaps if this book were more widely read and viewed we might better cope with the current pot of brewing resentment that smears the faces of those who still dream the American Dream. These are issues that deserve, no demand, our attention. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
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