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Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing
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Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  31 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Comprised mostly of memoirs with some fiction, this volume gathers selections from the writings of 85 immigrants from 45 countries that illustrate the changing views of immigrants in the United States.
Hardcover, 850 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Library of America (first published 2009)
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Robin Friedman
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Love Letter To The United States

In the most iconic of American poems, "The New Colossus", Emma Lazarus wrote about the meaning of the then-new Statue of Liberty:

"'Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'"

Lazarus's poem frames "Becoming Americans", a new anthology from the Library of America which manages both to examine and to celebrat
...more
Paul Jellinek
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A superb collection of stories, poems, memoirs, and other writings that provide a vivid composite picture of this great nation of ours as it is experienced and perceived by new arrivals from around the world, past and present. The writing is almost uniformly brilliant, and several of the stories have prompted me to read entire books by their authors. These are not simple, starry-eyed tributes to America. There is a good deal of pain in many of these accounts--the pain of rejection, the pain of d ...more
Beth
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A long book, to be sure, but interesting in that its excerpts from autobiographies or biographical novels, poems, well-constructed essays may easily read in short bursts. As a fourth generation American, it's interesting to experience becoming one from immigrant perspectives. I guess, ultimately, entering this 'melting pot' is never what one expects it to be; there were very few whole-hearted reminiscences of the procedure presented here. Perhaps the most surprising, yet continuous theme through ...more
Eveline Chao
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fabulous and very wide-ranging collection of writings portraying both the negative and positive aspects of the immigrant experience, comprising fiction, poetry, and memoir. I was impressed too by the wide range of nationalities that were represented. Many of the memoir excerpts made me want to buy the full books.
Mk Miller
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great book to keep by the toilet if you have a lot of immigrant friends or friends with an interest in American history via primary docs. Seriously though, this is a really neat book and money goes to the NEA. This is a Library of America collection, great stuff.
Stacy
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Finally had a chance to finish this! Some pieces I loved while others not so much, so overall a 3-star rating.
Lauren Hamra
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
I was so excited about this book, but unfortunately let down. The editor aspires to a lofty goal, but falls short with a bias toward variations of a similar narrative.
Frank
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is full of great anecdotes. It is a journey thought the lives and perils of immigrants to the U.S.A.
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Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5. It was a long read for me because I didn't always like the writing.
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Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. An award-winning writer and public television host, his books include Growing Up Latino and Spanglish. A native of Mexico City, he lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
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