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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

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  178 Ratings  ·  26 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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Aug 31, 2015 Antigone rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
It would not be overstating the case to call this history top-heavy with charts and statistics. Our author admits early on: "I hate to burden the reader with all these figures, but in demographic matters, if you don't get the numbers right, you just don't know what you're talking about." That's a truth one can respect, yet toleration (for those of us less enamored of the crunch) is greatly enhanced by a generous assortment of meaty asides. Thankfully, Daniels is aware of this and channels his in ...more
Frank Stein
Jan 18, 2010 Frank Stein rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 18, 2014 Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
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
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
Evan Clark
Jan 30, 2015 Evan Clark rated it liked it
A very decent history book regarding immigration. Much of this information can be found in Daniels's other book, Guarding the Golden Door, verbatim in some places, but the depth here makes it worth a read, particularly in the origins of non-Eurpoean immigration. I'd like to give this one 4 stars, but like many academics, Daniels holds that informative writing must be dry... dry... dry... I need a drink now.
Miriam Borenstein
Aug 30, 2013 Miriam Borenstein rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 24, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
I wanted a history of immigration to the US, even such a mainstream one as this one, to get some context for evaluating current issues around "Muslim" migration around the world. (I put "Muslim" in scare quotes for reasons I won't get into here). I knew that previous waves of immigrants had gotten various levels of opposition, and I usually don't like it when people play the "this time it's different" card, so I wanted some more detail on the past.

The book shades heavy on facts and figures and
Mar 12, 2016 Mara rated it it was amazing
What a great chronicle of immigration history and ethnicity in the U.S. One of the great things about this book (and history in general) is how it expands your understanding of current issues based on past experiences. For those who have lived through the immigrant experience, for those who study it, or for those who are unfamiliar with the topic, this is a wonderful read.

"The young are extremely sensitive in matters of honor, and much more so in their patriotic honor! It has been - and to some
Dan Rogers
May 26, 2012 Dan Rogers rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-adult-books
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
May 07, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
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
Jun 02, 2012 Whitney rated it really liked it
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
Leigh Ann Wilson, Ph.D.
Holistic scope, covering various nationalities in LatAm, European and Middle East. (Central Am., but no South, no Pacific Rim, Africa, except for slave trade.)

Puts acculturation = assimilation in same realm.Good bibliography, by only one text by Takaki, Ruiz, and Dinnerstein. Doesn't pity immigrants except for Africans. Sees them as controlling their own destinties. Uses a lot of govt docs for legal portion.

HIST 8980: Hawes: Thematic Readings: Fall 2005
May 09, 2011 Tanya rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 28, 2008 Natasha rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 10, 2009 Art rated it really liked it
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.
May 23, 2016 Bev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Book is very comprehensive details, tables, graphs on American immigration but I was surprised at how readable it is. It is filled with interesting details about why immigrants came, where they went, how well they assimilated and those individuals who made a difference in American history. Excellent. Very concise, everything in it is important.
Sep 16, 2013 Brianna rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own
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.
Jun 02, 2015 Kate rated it liked it
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.
Fredrick Danysh
This is a study of immigration and ethnicity in regards to immigration to the United States of America. Various racial and ethnic groups are discussed as well as Americans' attitudes toward the immigrants.
A good broad, general introduction to immigration in American history.
Caeser Pink
Jul 14, 2016 Caeser Pink rated it really liked it
Very in-depth, but a engaging, easy read. Provides a great overview of the history if immigration in a nation of immigrants.
Feb 17, 2013 Barb28 rated it really liked it
Excellent coverage and a very interesting read. Will continue to use as a reference.
Martha Jennings
May 13, 2012 Martha Jennings rated it it was amazing
Statistically rich - an in depth look at immigration and migration.
Dec 11, 2007 Ange rated it it was ok
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.
Andie Olson
Andie Olson rated it really liked it
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A past president of the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era as well as the Immigration History Society, Roger Daniels is the Charles Phelps Taft Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Cincinnati. He served as a consultant to the Presidential Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and is a planning committee member for the immigration m ...more
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