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The Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880-1921 (The American History Series)

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0882958101
ISBN-10: 0882958100
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alan M. Kraut is Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C., where he has taught since 1974, In addition to teaching at American University, in 1995, he was Visiting Professor in the History of Science at Harvard University. He is a specialist in U.S. immigration and ethnic history, the history of medicine I the United States, and nineteenth century U.S. social history. Dr. Kraut is the author of four books and over a hundred articles and book reviews. His books besides The Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880-1921, second Edition (2001), include an edited volume, Crusaders and Compromisers: Essays on the Relationship of the Antislavery Struggle to the Antebellum Party System (1983), American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945 (co-authored), and Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” (1994). He is also the editor of the Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the National Archives of the United States published in microfilm by University Publication of America (1991=present). Silent Travelers won several national awards, including the Theodore Saloutos Award from the Immigration and Ethnic history Society and the Phi Alpha Theta Award for the Best Book in History by an established author. Dr. Kraut’s scholarship has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Institutes of Health.

In April 2000, he became the President of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the largest organization of immigration scholars in the country. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society and the Executive Board of the Society for the History of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of American Ethnic History and has previously serves as a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Immigrant Health.

An active public historian on immigration and public health matters, Dr. Kraut has served as a member of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island History Committee, a consultant to the National park Service, and an adviser to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (NYC), the Stanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum of Florida, and the Strawbery-Banke Museum (Portsmouth, New Hampshire). He has been a historical consultant to documentaries broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Station and the History Channel./ These include “Journey to America” (1989), “America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference Fear: The Story of Polio” (1998) and “Maters of Life and Death” and “In Search of Ourselves,” two episodes in the PBS Series, A Science Odyssey (1998). As a member of the Committee on the Health and Adjustment of Immigrant Children and Families of the National Research Council, Dr. Kraut Participated in a two-year study, From Generation to Generation: The Health and Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families (1998).

Dr. Kraut was awarded the University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1984. For the academic year 1999/2000 he was named American University’s Scholar/Teacher of the Year, the Institution’s highest academic honor.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: The American History Series
  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Harlan Davidson (January 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882958100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882958101
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,560,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Seymour on July 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Kraut explores the dual image of immigrants in American society. One view depicts immigrants as heroes pursuing a better life. The second idea portrays immigrants as victims of circumstances beyond their control. Kraut contends that these approaches present a simplistic view, diminish the humanity of immigrants, and deny the immigrants' control over their lives.

Four factors shaped people's decision to emigrate and conditioned their reaction to the New World: the historical experiences of the immigrant's ethnic group; the cultural values of that group; the immigrant's own expectations and goals; and the individual immigrant's abilities and aptitudes. These factors provide a clearer understanding of the immigrants than the earlier beliefs.

Kraut examines the global patterns of migration at the end of the nineteenth century. Technological innovations and economic dislocations encouraged people from Europe and Asia to travel to Australia, North America, and South America in search of work. A portion of these migrants intended to labor in these regions and then return to their native lands with their earnings. Another group expected to settle permanently.

Both types experienced common events in their journeys. After steerage passage to the US, they faced inspection and the possibility of exclusion as undesirable. After admission into the country, they largely rejected agriculture for factories and mines in the industrial Northeast and Mid-West. They tolerated poor working and living conditions because of higher wages, and because they viewed these jobs as temporary employment.

Within cities, immigrants settled in ethnic enclaves and centered their lives around their houses of worship. They supported political machines, which courted their vote.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer A. Likes on July 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wow! I was required to read this book for a history course, but was amazed at the depth and feeling that is gleaned from the immigrant experience. Whether for education, entertainment, or if you would like to gain perspective on ancestral roots, I highly recommend this book. In a semester of drab, boring history reading, this book stood out!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karyn on March 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book has helped me understand the mindset of immigrants & the people who were already in the US. Looks as though the mindset of US citizens has not changed over the years. We're still suspicious & not very kind to immigrants. I do wish this had more about the German immigrants since that is my heritage but it does a good job of looking at the hardships of immigration. I would recommend this book. Can't say I love it but I like it a lot.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ann-marie Tromp on February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting and easy reading. Perfect for college students or anyone who wants to find out history of immigration.
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2 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nicole on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Not in all my life have I had so much trouble getting through a book. A mere 226 pages, it took me over a week to read. Kraut's seems to feel the need to use words many well educated people have never seen in their lives just for the sake of using big words. Whenever he speaks of his other books, he refers to himself in the third person and quotes himself rather than just stating the facts. An uninteresting and egotistical story of immigrantion.
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