By Jean Pfaelzer
Driven Out exposes a shocking story of ethnic cleansing in California and the Pacific Northwest when the first Chinese Americans were rounded up and purged from more than three hundred communities by lawless citizens and duplicitous politicians. From 1848 into the twentieth century, Chinatowns burned across the West as Chinese miners and merchants, lumberjacks and fieldworkers, prostitutes and merchants’ wives were violently loaded onto railroad cars or steamers, marched out of town, or killed.
But the Chinese fought back–with arms, strikes, and lawsuits and by flatly refusing to leave. When red posters appeared on barns and windows across the United States urging the Chinese to refuse to carry photo identity cards, more than one hundred thousand joined the largest mass civil disobedience to date in the United States. The first Chinese Americans were marched out and starved out. But even facing brutal pogroms, they stood up for their civil rights. This is a story that defines us as a nation and marks our humanity.
Highlights a mostly-forgotten dark spot on our national history.
By Juan Gonzalez
Within the next decade, Hispanics will become the largest minority group in the United States. The new immigrants have ignited a vibrant Latin explosion in popular culture and deeply affected American society.
Spanning 500 years-from the first New World colonies to our nation’s nineteenth-century westward expansion, from the days of gunboat diplomacy to the turn of the millennium-Harvest of Empire features family portraits of real-life immigrants along with sketches of the political events and social conditions that compelled them to leave their homeland. In addition, it gives a fascinating look at how these Latino pioneers have transformed the cultural landscape of the United States.
An easy-to-read review of Latino immigration to the U.S.
By Peter Schrag
In a book of deep and telling ironies, Peter Schrag provides essential background for understanding the fractious debate over immigration. Covering the earliest days of the Republic to current events, Schrag sets the modern immigration controversy within the context of three centuries of debate over the same questions about who exactly is fit for citizenship. He finds that nativism has long colored our national history, and that the fear–and loathing–of newcomers has provided one of the faultlines of American cultural and political life. Schrag describes the eerie similarities between the race-based arguments for restricting Irish, German, Slav, Italian, Jewish, and Chinese immigrants in the past and the arguments for restricting Latinos and others today. He links the terrible history of eugenic “science” to ideas, individuals, and groups now at the forefront of the fight against rational immigration policies. Not Fit for Our Society makes a powerful case for understanding the complex, often paradoxical history of immigration restriction as we work through the issues that inform, and often distort, the debate over who can become a citizen, who decides, and on what basis.
A fascinating reminder that anti-immigrant attitudes are not new, including a compelling, if somewhat disturbing, look at the most influential nativist groups today.
By Roger Daniels
“Arguably the most useful for general readers. Clearly written, reasonably lean and on the whole, balanced in its assessments, it is an excellent primer.” —Los Angeles Times
The federal government’s efforts to pick and choose among the multitude of immigrants seeking to enter the United States began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Conceived in ignorance and falsely presented to the public, it had undreamt of consequences, and this pattern has been rarely deviated from since. As renowned historian Roger Daniels shows in this brilliant new work, America’s inconsistent, often illogical, and always cumbersome immigration policy has profoundly affected our recent past.
Immigration policy in Daniels’ skilled hands shows Americans at their best and worst, from the nativist violence that forced Theodore Roosevelt’s 1907 “gentlemen’s agreement” with Japan to the generous refugee policies adopted after World War Two and throughout the Cold War. And in a conclusion drawn from today’s headlines, Daniels makes clear how far ignorance, partisan politics, and unintended consequences have overtaken immigration policy during the current administration’s War on Terror.
Irreverent, deeply informed, and authoritative, Guarding the Golden Door presents an unforgettable interpretation of modern American history.
A helpful overview of changes in U.S. immigration policy since 1882, when federal immigration policy began to take shape.