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This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,145 ratings  ·  176 reviews
A 2019 NPR Staff Pick

A timely argument for why the United States and the West would benefit from accepting more immigrants

There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and controversy than immigration. But do we really understand it? In This Land Is Our Land, the renowned author Suketu Mehta attacks the issue head-on. Drawing on his own experience as
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Picador (first published June 4th 2019)
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This Land Is Our Land is the book on immigration that I wish I had had written. Suketu Mehta has no qualms about digging deep and laying it all out there for everyone to see: the truths, the stories, the cover ups, and also, the lies. As an immigrant myself, with an immigrant partner who comes from a very different part of the world than I do, and three US-born children, this is the type of narrative that I think everyone should be reading. And while this book does focus on the US, it also focus ...more
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review, non-fiction
Immigration memoirs and nonfiction, factual explorations are my jam. I add them by my shopping cart all the time and keep tabs on new titles coming out. When I saw Mehta's take on immigration was available for request, I immediately got excited to read it. Unfortunately, my expectations weren't completely met, despite this being a good book.

This Is Our Land has one big selling point: it brings personal experience and real interviews into the discussion about immigration. All the stories we learn
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Undoubtedly the most important book I've read this year (and am likely to read this year). ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-politics
On the 30th of May, 2019, the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump threatened to apply a 5% tariff on all imports from Mexico. This threat which must have caused a significant amount of trepidation in Marcelo Ebard, Mexico’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, comes as a direct follow up to Mr. Trump’s vow of ‘punishing’ Mexico for their ‘migrants.”

Hard retribution, if any. But can this harsh measure be even termed retribution? A topical subject that has spawned a vertical divide a
Frank Lee
This is a book intended to advertise narratives of free immigration as grievance-payments. It is a polemical and ideological manifesto, not scholarly research on immigration.

To deliver his message, Mehta uses a mix of emotional (at times sanctimonious) storytelling, obtuse and partisan reporting of self-serving data & events, deliberate omissions of facts, frequent scapegoating and (at times) aggressively contentious rhetoric.

Some points:

1) Immigration to a developed country is touted by Mehta
Sehar Moughal
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to kiss the hands that wrote this book. These words.
What is the first image that comes to your mind when you think of an immigrant?
Ponder upon that thought.
I am a Pakistani, a Muslim and a female migrant.
There is nothing in this book that surprises me. It angers me. It swells my heart with pride. It gives me solace. But no surprises.
This book is thoroughly researched. People should read it if you have any niggling thoughts about immigrants.
The number of times I have been asked 'to go b
Nada Majdy
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone needs to read this book!
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Land is Their Land is more a vindication for why immigration can be awesome rather than an argument. Anti-immigration pundits are mentioned in the negative (especially those from the super conservative Christian circles), and there are few mentions regarding the flaws of immigration.

In the face of so much evidence, can you blame Mehta? Follow the money, follow the people in charge, and the corruption speaks for itself. Think the North American government is fair in the face of internationa
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Right before I started with this book, I read a back-issue of the National Geographic Magazine, from August 2019, one that deals with the refugee crisis. What Nat Geo awakened, Suketu Mehta in his book gave a voice to, and backed with copious research.

This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto is somewhat provocatively titled — and rightly so. Here, the author familiarises readers with the lies, hypocrisy and counter-productivity of the global Far Right's anti-immigrant stanc
Chris Dietzel
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot of misinformation and fear these days about immigrants. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in a thorough assessment of what it's like to be an immigrant, why they leave their countries, the impacts they have, etc. Mehta provides an in-depth analysis that simply isn't provided by any of our news outlets, and whereas the 24/7 news cycle is built to create fear and hysteria, Mehta writes about realities. Three key facts that he writes about in detail are:

1) The vast m
***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway***

In my experience, there are two types of books on political issues. Those that are data based and those that are emotion based. While I have a preference for data and research, I think there's a place for both.

This book stands out because it is definitely grounded in data and research, it does not shy away from emotion. There author drops some F bombs and does not mince words when discussing the president of the U.S.A. There are pages where you can f
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suketu Mehta dazzled beyond comparison in his 2004 published 'Maximum City' the story of Mumbai, a book which is peerless in its category.
With that kind of adulation I approached this new book of his 'This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto' and I enjoyed reading it. Its definitely a page turner, though gets a little repetitive and slow towards the later chapter.
So for sure its no-where near the charisma that shone in his Mumbai Book. So folks, who would be expecting a Maximum City would
I was very optimistic about this book. I read a lot on immigrant experience - I even have a Goodreads 'shelf' for the topic. I knew Mehta as the author of a well-regarded book about Mumbai. And when I started reading I thought it had a great tone of voice.

The problem was, that wore off way too quickly.

I felt like I was being beaten about the head with his opinions, that he was going on and on and on like a drunk in a bar who won't let you leave until he's told you EVERYTHING he knows about EVER
Kind of picked this up not knowing much about it, as it was chosen for me, and I was expecting a memoir-type book. It is so much more. While not comprehensive, this is an excellent primer on the history and sociology of immigration - why people move from one place to another, why they're an asset, and why they're often not met with warm welcomes. Mehta includes some of his own experience, alongside others' stories, showing there is no one immigrant experience and bringing nuance to an issue that ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Informative and well researched without becoming dry and unapproachable. The kind of book that practically begs you to read segments aloud in order to share what you’re learning about immigration. I devoured it in one sitting. Highly recommended.
This was really good - Mehta is a quick, engaging author who knows how to plead a point (though obviously there were some things I disagreed with). The singular issue is his random insertion of expletives & vulgarities into an otherwise professional, brilliant work. They were random & useless, too, almost as if he’d write 100 pages, realize they were all perfectly acceptable, and throw in the two censored words in the same sentence, & then continue along his merry way until he found he’d gone an ...more
Mitalee | TheAvidBookerfly
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This Land is our Land is a timely book discussing why western countries can benefit from accepting immigrants.

The author Suketu Mehta is born in India and grew up in New York City. He draws some part of this book from his personal experiences and does not hold back putting any facts, stories, truths, and lies for the world to see. The book focuses on the history of immigration in the world, many well-researched stories to support that and also a few loopholes which are inflicted upon common man
Sonia Nair
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me want to punch the air with rage, so blinding was the hypocrisy exhibited by anti-immigration politicians and citizens of Western countries that Mehta so expertly spotlights in this book. At its heart, This Land is Our Land is a call for reparations, reparations from European colonisers who have irrevocably changed the face of the now "third-world" countries they plundered, invaded and stole from. Mehta loses me towards the end when he veers too much towards justifying the human ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost didn't finish this book because it was a bit overwhelming, people are bad, the government's bad, the world is bad, but then the second half got better. There was more about what should be done and how immigration is a good thing and can improve things for everyone. One paragraph that resonated with me was about how Americans don't want to move. They don't want to leave for other and better opportunities and even fewer it seems will leave the country except to vacation. Most immigrants w ...more
Aditya Ajith
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about immigration and how countries are branding migrants as the problem. Especially the developed countries raging against the migrants and refugees. It argues that those migrants/ refugees are there because the developed countries looted and plundered their countries through colonisation or contributed heavily through global warming which resulted in climate change affected displacement. Other factors that are associated with this phenomenon are also explored in depth. Very intere ...more
This is VERY well-argued and I enjoyed it a lot. An important book for this time in our history. I was already predisposed to regard a pro-immigrant argument favorably, but hopefully even someone who was not so inclined could be swayed. I picked this up because I intended to read it, but never got around to it, and then it showed up on the NPR best of the year list and I decided I needed to read it--I'm glad I did. ...more
Gemma Williams
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. It starts with looking at migration, and the roots of migration, located in colonialism, neocolonialism, climate change and war. It discusses and dismantles the populist anti immigrant stance and clearly demonstrates how migration benefits societies. And it ends with a lovely evocation of family and community support, belonging and courage that celebrates the heroic tenacity of migrants everywhere.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Just excellent. Even if you remain unconvinced about reparations, Mehta cites numerous pieces of evidence that cite the benefits of immigrants in our society. Lower crime, higher economic growth, the renaissance of dead communities, etc. Everyone should read this.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suketu Mehta is a gifted journalist, and this book is a marvel. His tales of his family's migration combine well with research on the effects of immigration on the home country as well as the country being moved to.
Ryan Koenig
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn’t imagine a more comprehensive book on immigration. It’s incredible.
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been peripatetic all my life- first, as an internal migrant in India, then an emigrant to the UK. All those who move know that home is really a place between the past you carry in you, and the future you can dare to imagine.

In Orissa, as a fourteen year old, my Hindi-tinged convent educated mannerisms were laughed at. In Delhi as a sixteen year old boarder, rich South Delhi kids looked down upon us Biharis who swotted all the time to crack entrance exams- for a better future than what ou
Marcela Rodrigues-Sherley
I got a copy of "This Land is Our Land" through a Twitter giveaway, and I have mixed feelings about the book.

First, I will address the title. I understand Mehta's argument that this land is our land from a migrant's perspective (I'm an immigrant myself). However, I can't ignore the fact that this argument is in direct conflict with the Indigenous movement Land Back. This land is Indigenous land. I believe, as migrants, we can claim our rights without having to claim this land as our land (it's
Nancy Motto
3.5 really. This book left me with more questions than answers. I was looking for facts, yes, but the author throws so many percentages at the reader that I sometimes felt the points he was trying to make got lost. The author makes a lot of statements but I have no reference points for their validity. He did make one statement that I found to be very open to interpretation. On page 196 the author states “The United States ranks 191st in the world in terms of density, its most crowded state, New ...more
Hannah Higgins
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone must read this book. One of the most profound, detailed, and inspiring pieces of literature I have read in the past couple months when it comes to the horrifying reality millions of immigrants and refugees face every single day across the world. Many Americans, right now, are so focused on finding any way possible to prevent migrants and refugees from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries from passing through the southern border, that they neglect to look at the broader problems wo ...more
Katie Peach
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
This book is incredibly important. "This Land is Our Land" explains the benefits of welcoming immigration policies and of immigrants to their new home countries. Suketu Mehta argues from personal experience as an immigrant and from facts to persuade people that being welcoming to immigrants is not only the kind and caring thing to do but can benefit all parties involved.

I love that this book combines personal experience, facts, and interviews with people on both sides of the immigration debate
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Suketu Mehta is the New York-based author of 'Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found,' which won the Kiriyama Prize and the Hutch Crossword Award, and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the Lettre Ulysses Prize, the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award. He has won the Whiting Writers Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for his ...more

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“Europeans extracted an estimated 222,505,049 hours of forced labour from African slaves between 1619 and 1865. Valued at the US minimum wage, with a modest rate of interest, that’s worth $97 trillion – more than the entire global GDP.” 3 likes
“All told, in the colonial period, Europeans increased their share of global GDP from 20 to 60 per cent, Hickel points out. ‘Europe didn’t develop the colonies. The colonies developed Europe.’ The Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle sums it up: ‘We fear the arrival of immigrants that we have drawn here with the wealth we stole from them.” 2 likes
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