Well known for her 30 years of journalism, as a columnist for the United Press Syndicate and a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Daily News
, Georgie Anne Geyer's analysis of the fracturing of American society draws on extensive research and discussions with academics. While she deplores illegal immigration, she is disturbed too by recent trends among legal immigrants toward resisting assimilation, to the extent even of denying the primacy of English in some cases. The result, she argues, is a profound identity crisis in the United States, a nation created by immigrants but now with its established values threatened by a continued inflow of non-Americans.
From Publishers Weekly
"I am a true universalist, appreciating every culture," syndicated columnist Geyer declares in her preface. Not surprisingly, she fears American balkanization, the valuing of group rights over individual rights and national identity, calling it "a mostly nonviolent version of Yugoslavia." Her rambling book argues that our sense of citizenship has declined, from the insipid citizenship test required for immigrants to the new movement to allow non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections because they pay local taxes. She reprises legitimate criticisms of immigration and refugee policy but lapses into an exaggerated attack on campus multiculturalism and governmental paternalism. Though most critical of the left, Geyer argues that commercialism has also eroded citizenship. The book often reads like a series of disjointed columns, and people she approves of?e.g., opinion-researcher Daniel Yankelovich and Robert Woodson Sr. of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprises?are granted adjectives like "brilliant" or "bright." She says little about America's racial or wealth divide, nor does she find much strength in America's multiethnic reality. While her book does make some important criticisms, Geyer's first-person voice offers as much melodrama as insight.
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