In Their Own Words: Letters from Norwegian Immigrants

In Their Own Words: Letters from Norwegian Immigrants

by Zempel, Solveig Zempel

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This moving collection of letters composed between 1870 and 1945 by nine Norwegian settlers keenly depicts the day-to-day experiences of immigrants in this country. Zempel, a translator and academic, has skillfully selected hundreds of letters addressed to relatives and friends back home describing the trials and triumphs of settlers ranging from a schoolteacher in the Midwest to a politician and gold prospector in Washington State. p. 129 While most of the immigrants don't regret coming to America (``America is no paradise,'' writes one, ``but it cannot be denied that it is a good land''), all of them work hard to survive, often moving from town to town--usually in the Midwest, where a large majority of Norwegians settled. The letters also reflect the immigrants' desperate struggle to maintain their Norwegian heritage; several apologize for having given their children American and not Norwegian names. One woman notes that she and her brothers in America were trying to save enough money to send home so that the family could at long last purchase a cow. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
YA-- Nine Norwegian immigrants--farmer, fisherman, gold miner, politician, unmarried mother, housewife, businessman, railroad worker, and contractor--write letters home from the United States between 1870-1945. These carefully selected letters are bountiful, alive, and touch upon historical events as well as the humdrum experiences of daily life. The letters will be useful to young adults interested in primary sources and cross-cultural experiences. The insight gained from the accounts reveals valuable information about the new world.-- Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS

Product Details

University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

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