Leaving America: The New Expatriate Generation

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Overview

Today more than ever, large numbers of Americans are leaving the United States. It is estimated that by the end of the decade, some 10 million of the brightest and most talented Americans, representing an estimated $136 billion in wages, will be living and working overseas. This emigration trend contradicts the internalized myth of America as the land of affluence, opportunity, and freedom. What is behind this trend? Wennersten argues that many people these days, from college students to retirees, are uncertain or ambivalent about what it means to be an American. For example, many are uncomfortable with that they believe America has come to represent to the rest of the world. At the same time, globalization and advances in technology have enabled the growth of a telecommuting work force whose members can live in one country and work in another, and this trend, among other factors, has encouraged a new generation of people to respond to the pull of global citizenship.

Leaving America is an important reexamination of one of the most central stories in the history of American culture—the story of the immigrant coming to the Promised Land. While millions still come to America and millions more still wish to do so, there is an important counterflow of emigration from America to distant parts of the planet. This book focuses on modern American expatriates as a significant and heretofore largely ignored counterpoint phenomenon every bit as central to understanding modern America as is the image of a nation of immigrants. The greatest irony in America today may well be that while argument and discord prevail in the edifice of American democracy about diversity, economic justice, equality, and the Iraq War, many of the most thoughtful citizens have already left the building.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A] thought-provoking book that fleshes in a compelling picture of Americans abroad….If you've ever considered taking off for places unknown--or were curious about why others might do so--Wennersten's book offers fascinating and reasoned insights into this complex issue."

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The Hill Rag

"While the work doesn't tell you how to start a new life on the other side of the world, in historical perspective it does a nice job investigating why other people have done so, and where they ended up, etc. While this account might not initially seem practical to anyone looking at 'getting out', throughout the book there are tidbits of interest to most people considering an international move (per Central America, that Panama is currently the top country for U.S. civil service annuity check deposits, etc.). Given the publisher and academic take on the subject the book is not likely to show up on the wall of backpacker book exchanges in the Latin world, but it is an interesting read for those concerned with bigger issues."

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Nicaragua Living

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313345067
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,213,714
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN R. WENNERSTEN has lived a total of eleven years abroad in Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. He was recently a Senior Fellow at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. Currently he is a writer-lecturer for the Maryland Humanities Commission. He is Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, and held a tenured professorship at Tokiwa University in Japan.

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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Explaining Expatriate Motivation     1
The Expatriate Archipelago     19
Dissenters, Tax Fugitives, and Utopians     33
The Expatriate Countries: Canada, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand     51
Black Exiles and Sojourners     61
Women Expatriates     83
Go East, Young Man     101
Gringo Gulch: Retired Expatriates and Sojourners in Latin America     115
The Return of the Native     137
American Citizens Living Abroad by Country     151
Top Ten Countries Where Most Expatriate Americans Live, 2006     159
Ten Most Popular Expatriate Meccas     161
Compendium of English Online International Newspapers     163
Online Expatriate Networks     167
Notes     169
Select Bibliography     181
Index     183
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