Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life
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Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  17 reviews

With a timely new chapter on immigration in the current age of globalization, a new Preface, and new appendixes with the most recent statistics, this revised edition is an engrossing study of immigration to the United States from the colonial era to the present.

Paperback, Second Edition, 576 pages
Published October 22nd 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1990)
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Frank Stein
An amazing review of the entire history of immigration and ethnic groups in America from 1609 to the present. Daniels manages to condense an impressive amount of research and information into one reasonably sized book.

Perhaps unfortunately much of that research relies on just two main sources. The more boring parts rest on tables copied straight from the US census. Sometimes these tables are informative (such as the return ratios: about 1/3 of all immigrants actually went back to Europe in the 1...more
Jake Berlin
the historical chapters of this book (especially the ones on the 19th century) are very strong, and i certainly learned a lot. the book falls down a bit in the chapters on the late 20th century, in part because it's a bit outdated (i read the second edition, which rectifies those wrongs a bit in the final chapter, but perhaps there's a newer version that gets closer to the present). one other small quibble: i feel like the author had a strange anti-chicago bent. perhaps it's because he's a profe...more
Caroline
I found this book surprisingly interesting, considering it is very much not what I was expecting. I picked it up hoping for a social history of immigration in America - the experiences of immigrants, the context and culture of their journeys, the nativist reactions, the assimilation and acculturation. All of those aspects appear in this book, but it is very much a statistical and legal summary of immigration history. I've rarely read a book with quite so many charts and data - I'm not much of a...more
John
I actually started this on Monday, Feb 10. It didn't occur to me that this would actually be something I read all the way through rather than just a couple chapters.
I think that's probably the biggest gap between actual and goodreads time since I started using it.

Update: I actually knew all the broad strokes of this. A little Eurocentric (I think it might have spent words on how Fresno's the Armenian capital of the country than it did the slave trade) but at least for the colonial period this is...more
Miriam Borenstein
A comprehensive history of the peopling of America, Roger Daniels’ Coming to America presents immigration not as an element of the United States, but as the foundation of its history. Daniels argues that the distinction between early “settlers” and later “immigrants” is valueless, that all new American immigrants faced similar challenges. Recognizing these similarities, he argues, is as helpful to historians as examining their differences. He begins, therefore, with English colonies in America a...more
Dan Rogers
I once heard the expression,"there are lies, there are d____d lies, and there are statistics." Well, this book falls in the latter category. I can understand the author's desire to support what he's saying with statistics but I found the charts and percentages too distracting from the central theme of the book. In fact, I eventually got to a point where I tried to skim over the numbers. Unfortunately, the book was so long that I lost interest about 2/3 of the way through. From then on it was sim...more
Jessica
Coming to America was a mandatory book for my college course, Immigrants in the American Experience. This book provides a very thorough examination of Immigration to America from the first settlers to late twentieth century (the book was published in 2002). Daniels incorporates graphs and tables that provide excellent resources for college papers, etc. I've used this book as a reference for many of my courses. I would recommend this to everyone - it is dense but helps readers interpret and analy...more
Whitney
This is a very good resource about immigration to America. Great data concerning specific immigrant groups throughout America’s history. It is very valuable to have it written in this manner showing the transition of immigration over America’s history. The numbers of certain groups and in particular era’s will be astonishing. This might be statistic heavy; however it is useful concerning research pertaining to this subject or related matter. It is pretty valuable to prove the multiethnic composi...more
Tanya
3.5 stars for a very thorough investigation of immigration to America from the colonial period through 1990. A chapter tacked on to the second edition covers 1990-2000, but is already outdated. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, perhaps because it contained more information that was new to me. Still, it took me weeks to get through this 500 pager, which is proof that it was less than absorbing.
Natasha
Really interesting and comprehensive history, but I did feel like it was trying to do too much. By covering immigration to the states from Colonial times until the present day, it is able to draw out key themes and patterns in immigration and American culture. However, I felt the analysis of current (1980s - present) issues was glossed over.
Art
A compulsive page-turner! I didn't realize I was so interested in the history of American immigration but Daniels' style, full of anecdotes, stats, and opinion, had me wishing for more detail on each migrant group! Now I'll have to find the comparable Australian tome -- but without Daniels it might be rather academic.
Brianna
Oh man. This book was assigned for a college history course. It was dry and complicated. In other words it is FULL of facts and dates. It is well documented and organized. However it did not capture my attention at all.
Ange
I only read the parts of interest to me. My grandparents were part of the immigration movement in the early 20th century. Recommend to those who like reading history books.
Barb28
Excellent coverage and a very interesting read. Will continue to use as a reference.
Michelle
Jul 27, 2007 Michelle rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Historians
VERY dense- tells you most of what you need to know about the history of immigration.
Martha Jennings
Statistically rich - an in depth look at immigration and migration.
Peter
A pretty good basic overview, nothing too too exciting.
MaryAnn Keyser
MaryAnn Keyser marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2014
Kinley
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Aug 14, 2014
Aaron Angel
Aaron Angel marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2014
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