Cover image for Coming to America : a history of immigration and ethnicity in American life
Coming to America : a history of immigration and ethnicity in American life
Daniels, Roger.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : HarperCollins, [1990]

Physical Description:
xii, 450 pages ; photographs ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.A1 D26 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



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.

Author Notes

Historian Roger Daniels has written numerous books, mostly on immigration history and Japanese-American internment during World War II. He was past president of the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and the Immigration History Society. He served as a consultant to the Presidential Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and on the planning committee for the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island. He has also worked with the National Park Service on historic sites and as a historical consultant for many television programs. As a Fulbright Professor he taught at five universities in Europe and two universities in Canada. His last position was at the University of Cincinnati. Even in retirement, he continues to write, edit, and guest lecture.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Booklist Review

A valuable contribution to the growing field of historical research on immigration. Daniels pays little attention to celebrated personages and historical conflicts, concentrating instead on the demographics and everyday lives of immigrants to America in three periods: colonial times, 1820-1924, and the modern era. Daniels, a historian in the old sense, eschews theories, and although he can be an engaging writer, he can also pile on the facts and squabble with his colleagues academically. With three exceptions, each chapter describes the experiences of a related group of immigrants (Italians, Greeks, Arabs, Armenians, etc.). A solid volume for readers in search of their roots. Includes tables, charts, maps, notes, bibliography. To be indexed. ~--Roland Wulbert

Publisher's Weekly Review

University of Cincinnati history professor Daniels, in this substantial, impressive social analysis, focuses on the diverse motives and experiences of those who have settled in the U.S. since 1500. He illustrates how, despite racial conflicts, varied ethnic patterns and cultures, emigres, including the controversial recent influx of Hispanics and Cold War refugees, have adapted and contributed to American society. His rich lode of personalized data yields portraits ranging from those of ``nonreligious, hired gun'' Miles Standish to second-generation Italian-American Lee Iacocca. Daniels concludes with a forceful argument that, despite rising nativism spurred by illegal migrants, more immigration is needed to reverse a population decline. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book provides the first comprehensive history of immigration to the United States in 20 years. It deals with the initial immigration of Western Europeans and Africans during Colonial times, the great influx of Mediterraneans, Eastern Europeans, and Asians from 1820 to 1924, and the more recent migrations of Mexicans, South Americans, and Southeast Asians. Within these three major migration periods, the book is organized into sections about specific immigrant groups. Though offering little analysis of the many reasons for and implications of immigration, this textbook-like narrative utilizes nearly all the existing scholarship on the topic to create a readable synthesis. It provides a quick reference source for nonspecialists and general readers.-- David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-- After discussing the topic of immigration in general and sociological theories of why people migrate between countries, Daniel discusses each racial or national group that came to the United States during the various eras of the nation's history, giving statistics and patterns of immigration and detailing interesting and often little-known facts. Also set out are the reactions of Americans to the various waves of immigration from the rise of the antiforeign Nativists, Know Nothing, and Ku Klux Klan elements; to the restrictive immigration laws and quotas of the 1920s; through the World War II era incarceration of Japanese Americans in ``resettlement camps.'' This excellent work is an effective tool for increasing multicultural awareness and should be an effective teaching guide for social sciences and humanities.-- Richard Lisker, Fairfax County Pub . Lib . , VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Daniels provides an updated, worldwide study of immigration to the US from 1500 to the present. He treats Colonial European immigrants from England, France, and Spain; African slaves; later arrivals from Ireland and Germany; Eastern European immigrants during the rise of industrialization; and the Latin American and Asian immigrants of the present era. Each ethnic group is discussed separately, emphasizing the "push" and "pull" factors that encouraged migration, and comparing the experiences of each group in the US. Analyzing the religious and racial prejudices behind the nativist attitudes of US society, Daniels notes that "successful nativist movements have almost always been linked to more general fears or uneasiness in American society." Nativist attitudes aimed at ethnic minorities, Daniels claims, are an inseparable part of the American past and present. The author includes an interpretation of the Constitutional changes that reflect the degree of nativist sentiment present in US political life. Readable and compelling, this book is a valuable contribution to immigration scholarship. Illustrated with photographs. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers. -E. Kuhlman, University of Montana

Table of Contents

Tables, Charts, and Mapsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Part I Colonial America
1. Overseas Migration from Europep. 3
2. English Immigrants in America: Virginia, Maryland, and New Englandp. 30
3. Slavery and Immigrants from Africap. 53
4. Other Europeans in Colonial Americap. 66
5. Ethnicity and Race in American Lifep. 101
Part II The Century of Immigration (1820-1924)
6. Pioneers of the Century of Immigration: Irish, Germans, and Scandinaviansp. 121
7. From the Mediterranean: Italians, Greeks, Arabs, and Armeniansp. 185
8. Eastern Europeans: Poles, Jews, and Hungariansp. 212
9. Minorities from Other Regions: Chinese, Japanese, and French Canadiansp. 238
10. The Triumph of Nativismp. 265
Part III Modern Times
11. Migration in Prosperity, Depression, and War, 1921-1945p. 287
12. From the New World: Mexicans and Puerto Ricansp. 307
13. Changing the Rules: Immigration Law, 1948-1980p. 328
14. The New Asian Immigrantsp. 350
15. Caribbeans, Central Americans, and Soviet Jewsp. 371
16. The 1980s and Beyondp. 388
Notesp. 409
Selected Bibliographyp. 423
Indexp. 433