Reviewed with Robert Stein's Jewish Americans
Gr. 7-10. Although there are several series that introduce the immigrant experience, books in the new Coming to America series are particularly well thought out, with informative graphics complementing the well-written texts. The focus in these books is equally divided between the conditions that made emigration desirable for the Jews and the Irish, what life was like for the newly arrived, and how the newcomers enriched their adopted countries. Jewish Americans notes that there were six Jews on Columbus' voyage, and then goes on to describe the waves of immigration from various countries. With first-person writings complementing the text and dramatic black-and-white photos chronicling immigrant life, readers get a real sense of what it was like to arrive as a "greenhorn" in America. The Irish-American s get a similar treatment, and in both cases the books delve deeper than many series, discussing such issues as German Jews' prejudice against Eastern Europeans who arrived later, or the effect rebellion in Ireland had on the Irish in America. The compact volumes have rather small typeface, but their attractive design balances things out. Ilene Cooper
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About the Author
Barry Moreno is an historian at New York's famous Ellis Island Museum, site of America's most important early-twentieth-century immigration center.