Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing” as Want to Read:
Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing

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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Becoming Americans, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Becoming Americans

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
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
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.
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.
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.
rated it really liked it
Apr 17, 2011
Bella Yagolkovskaya
rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2012
rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2016
Shirley DeCou
rated it really liked it
Jan 28, 2016
Kara Carowick
rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2014
Joseph Cawley
rated it really liked it
Oct 07, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jan 17, 2010
Diana Filar
rated it liked it
Aug 16, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Apr 29, 2012
rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2015
rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2015
rated it really liked it
Oct 13, 2015
J.M. Cornwell
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2009
Jeremiah Boydstun
rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2015
Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5. It was a long read for me because I didn't always like the writing.
rated it really liked it
May 25, 2017
Eugene Weber
rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2015
Jim Eaton
rated it liked it
May 17, 2014
rated it liked it
Jan 31, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Oct 10, 2012
rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2014
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
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.
More about Ilan Stavans...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Funny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France
    $8.49 $1.99
  • Bad Boy
    $7.74 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
    $4.99 $1.99
  • All Over But the Shoutin'
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change
    $13.99 $1.99
  • WEIRD: Because Normal Isn't Working
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness
    $5.99 $0.99