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From Ellis Island to JFK: New York`s Two Great Waves of Immigration Hardcover – September 10, 2000

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A fascinating guide to the place of immigrants in American society and history . . . unusually objective, lucid, and nuanced." -- Reed Ueda, Tufts University

"A thorough, comprehensive and carefully comparative analysis . . . essential reading" -- Herbert J. Gans, Author of Popular Culture and High Culture

"Searching and highly readable. . . . Foner contributes to the dialogue of what it means to call America a nation of immigrants." -- Publishers Weekly

"Steeped in relevant literature, always judicious, and yet never pulling a punch, . . . beautifully written ." -- Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles

"Through masterful comparison of the experience of immigrants in two historical eras, Foner challenges the doomsayers among us . . . lucid" -- Douglas S. Massey, University of Pennsylvania

"With incisive analysis and telling examples . . . brilliantly illuminat[ing]" -- Richard Alba, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, State University of New York at Albany

From the Publisher

Copublished with the Russell Sage Foundation --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st edition (September 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300082266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300082265
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This book is useful, though not brilliant. It provides a comparison between the great wave of Jewish and Italian immigrants to New York at the turn of the last century, and the present wave of immigrants from Asia, Latin America and the former Soviet Union. Foner's account look at where immigrants live, how they work, immigrant women in particular, the sting of prejudice, the matter of ties to the old country and going to school. She seeks to refute the view which uses the success of the first wave and selected members of the second wave as a stick to beat everyone else. By and large she succeeds. She reminds us that one reason why many Asian-American have excellent education and social mobility records in the United States is because they were well educated members of the middle class back in Asia. She points out that it took a couple of generations before Jews experienced middle class status and high school graduation. She reminds us that despite fears of America becoming increasingly balkanized new immigrants are more "american" than previous waves because of the world of mass culture. There are nuanced discussions about the mixed blessings of wage labor and increased independence. There is an interesting chapter on how Jews and Italians were viewed in the past as non-white, and how Asians and Hispanics are becoming increasingly "white." There is much in here that counters the widespread moralistic underclass discourses that have made The New Republic the fashionable magazine of our day's Vanity Fair. There is a nuanced discussion of the effect immigrants have on black employment. Some pundits, shedding crocodile tears for African-Americans suggest they would be better off if immigrants were not taking their jobs.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best books and the most updated one I have read about America's immigration history. Its discussion of the present day immigrants should give many Americans a more optimistic view of our country's future. This book also shows that many of the previous views we held about the Ellis Island 1880-1924 immigration were not true. Italian and Jewish American immigrants, the major groups landing in NY then, did not "make it" in the second generation, but in the third and fourth, especially after WWII. This was the era when the GI Bill, the Civil Rights Bill, and revulsion to the Holocaust made these previously despised and often considered "non-white" groups fully "white." The new post-1965 Hart-Cellar (and Ted Kennedy pushed) anti-quota immigration act has given new "blood" to NY and the rest of this country. With the immigration reform law debate now heating up, we see too many xenophobes, especially in the South and even some of the sons and daughters of the Ellis Island group, espousing the same racist 1920 immigration restriction drivel with regard to Hispanics. IMHO, this book is generally an antidote to these negative views.
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