7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The first time Americans began to look askance at immigrants was in 1882 when they voted to keep out immigrants. It wasn't a new thought, but it was the first time the welcome mat was pulled right out from under people by people who in all likelihood were at least descended from immigrants, if not immigrants themselves. Traditionally America's immigrant population took the "sweatiest jobs at the bottom of the workforce." At times America welcomed them with open arms and next thing you know, they became hostile toward them. This is a look into "the dark side of American immigration" and this book does not mince words.
The nineteenth century Chinese were the first to fall into the clutches of this vicious cycle. At first they were needed to fill the jobs Americans didn't want. They labored in the mines, building railroads and other lowly jobs. Then, when they were no longer needed, outrageous taxes were levied on them. Hate crimes became common and people feared for the safety of their families. Go home, Chinaman, go home!
Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman clearly spoke for the people and had done so for decades. The wanted answers to questions such as, "why not empower the individual . . . ?" Emma's powerful voice would ring true today. Berkman spent fourteen years in prison for his words, while Emma only had a brush with prisons. Still, she would not back down. They were labeled anarchists and had a "commitment to change." They were too outspoken for their own good. Americans didn't need an Anarchist King and Queen. Deport them, deport them on the "Red Ark!"
In 1939 Herb Karliner, age 12, along with his family were fleeing the clutches of Hitler. They boarded the St. Louis on May 13, 1939 in hope of saving their lives. When they arrived in Cuba, most of the passengers were turned away. It was turning into a very sobering situation. They headed for Miami where immigrants were sure to be welcome. They were turned away! Their only option was to go back to Europe. What happened to Herb? What happened to the other passengers?
There were other atrocities too. Young Mary Matsuda, age sixteen, was imprisoned by Executive Order 9066. He family burned anything and everything that smacked of Japanese to no avail. They became "Family Number 19788." Mary feared the soldiers would kill them. Her brother Yoneichi went off to fight in WWII. Would he return?
And then there were the Mexicans. This is a very sobering book and the line that spoke the most to me declared that America was "alternately welcoming and hostile to those who have tried to cross through `the golden door' into America." This is a book that will not only interest the young adult, its intended audience, but also adults. When I read things about people being loaded into boxcars, it was horrifying and very chilling. This book is very well written and researched and should be read in every history class. The sepia toned photographs brought a lot of emotion to this extraordinary book. In the back of the book is an extensive time line, an index, credits, a bibliography and additional recommended book, film and additional online resources.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2010
This is an informational non fictional text with historical details about particular people enduring courageous immigration discrimination as "other." Ann Bausum bluntly examines how people of immigrant status were not welcomed "to breathe free" as is engraved on the Statue of Liberty. She tells the stories of immigrant people of Chinese, Japanese, Russian, German and Mexican descent. This text has great primary documents, photographs, and timelines. The following text is a great way for teachers and students to get started in beginning to construct social studies knowledge and begin thinking about social justice issues about how varied immigrant ethnicities were discriminated in severe ways over history in the United States. Teachers and students will be able to implement this wonderfully written text and expand upon it to take a stand on immigration now, look back on immigration in the past, and find immigrants throughout history in the United States to report and how people of immigration made great strides and differences in our nation. Additionally, people related to immigrants such as Jane Addams, Emma Lazarus, and Clara Breed and just a few women throughout history that teachers and students can research to add to immigrant studies. I judge this to be a marvelous addition to any classroom or school library, especially in this particular time in our country when so many believe that we are undergoing an unprecedented time of immigrants coming into our county. It simply is not true. This text gives a historical background through varied visuals to assist learning.
on March 21, 2014
The topic was informative and included diverse experiences. However, an important academic source that needed to be included is Dr. Francisco Balderama's Decade of Betrayal. The book sheds light on a pattern of attitudes, behavior and policies that discriminate against a segment of U.S. society.