Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America Paperback – December 8, 2008
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Upon its first publication, A Different Mirror was hailed by critics and academics everywhere as a dramatic new retelling of our nation's past. Beginning with the colonization of the New World, it recounted the history of America in the voice of the non-Anglo peoples of the United States--Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and others--groups who helped create this country's rich mosaic culture.
Now, Ronald Takaki has revised his landmark work and made it even more relevant and important. Among the new additions to the book are:
--The role of black soldiers in preserving the Union
--The history of Chinese Americans from 1900-1941
--An investigation into the hot-button issue of "illegal" immigrants from Mexico
--A look at the sudden visibility of Muslim refugees from Afghanistan.
This new edition of A Different Mirror is a remarkable achievement that grapples with the raw truth of American history and examines the ultimate question of what it means to be an American.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Finally, a history of the U.S. that speaks the awful truth about the discrimination and horrors so many ethnic groups went through to make America the greatest country on Earth, as it is unfortunately still the case today.
A reading I'd strongly recommend in these times of confusion and hatred, where too many folks tend to forget the challenges and sufferings of Native Americans, African Americans, Irish Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Jewish Americans, Mexican Americans, and so many other groups who came before us.
E pluribus unum ... right?
Before reading A Different Mirror I saw our nation’s history as the story of the advance of civilization. “Civilization” being the version of civilization that was developed in England and passed on through our Declaration of Independence and Constitution and the culture of freedom surrounding it. Now I have an awareness of the equal contribution of other streams some already here, and some also from across the seas. And I am deeply aware of the suffering of these peoples in this process.
Takaki starts with the Irish. The English began thumping on them first when as England and Ireland they were neighbors. With ample help from the English the Irish were impoverished. To escape starvation they boarded the boats, came over here, to do the work of the bestial, stupid, filthy underclass. From that point they built themselves into powerful, knowledgeable and wealthy members of the white system. From my childhood to my adulthood the Irish in my family did not stop being a competitive minority under-class until Jack Kennedy became president. On that day we arrived as members of the white power structure.
While the Irish are described well in Takaki’s history, their fellow whites less so., For instance the Swedes are served not at all, nor the Germans, nor the French, , and just a dab at the Italians This is not a complaint. Even a big book has limits.
After the Irish story comes the tragic tale of the stealing of Indian land. The removal of whole native peoples en mass from the lands they had possessed for generations. This attempt at genocide was based on two very disputable “facts.” First the Indians were ignorant savages, and second, they did not need the land since they were not farming it. Until the 1970s we made the practice of Native American religion a crime, destroying their culture .
Takaki covers the story of the Blacks from slavery to Martin Luther King and close to today. No surprises there if you are following the copious coverage of that history in the media, but he squeezes a lot of African American history into these pages. I realized my own narrowness in thinking of racial history as being a Black and White story. Not at all. It is much broader and much worse than that.
The battle of the Alamo looks much less heroic when I realize that it occurred well within the boundaries of Mexico. (A 2017 joke: The Mexicans will pay for a wall on the border if we give them back California.) The Mexicans did not have to migrate to the United States. We moved the lines, and then they were in the United States, but without property rights, in a foreign culture, vulnerable and victimized.
The Chinese arrived to build the railroads from West to East, as the Irish were building them from East to West. Tough work. Single men came first and families later. The Chinese were being pressured by the spreading British Empire on their East to cross the seas and join and collide with the same culture in our West
The Japanese are followed from their arrival in fruitless pursuit of gold (hills of it they had heard) through World War Two where while young male Japanese Americans were grudgingly allowed to fight on the European front, their families were interned in what can only be called prison camps to prevent any possible seditious activity. (None of which ever appeared.)
In Different Mirrors I first discovered that President Roosevelt turned back to certain death in Germany a ship full of Jews trying to escape Hitler. Worse, he did it because the polls showed that ninety percent of United States citizens wanted him to do precisely that.
What I gained from this book is a deep and specific sense of the terrible cost those other than the founders have paid for a seat at the American table.
Does your picture of how we all got here need tuning as badly as mine? Ronald Takaki is a compelling storyteller. Because of that this is about as easy a lesson as anyone can make it.