Ethnic America: A History

Ethnic America: A History

Ethnic America: A History

Ethnic America: A History

Synopsis

This classic work by the distinguished economist traces the history of nine American ethnic groups- the Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians, Chinese, African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans.

Excerpt

The peopling of America is one of the great dramas in all of human history. Over the years, a massive stream of humanity--45 million people--crossed every ocean and continent to reach the United States. They came speaking every language and representing every nationality, race, and religion. Today, there are more people of Irish ancestry in the United States than in Ireland, more Jews than in Israel, more blacks than in most African countries. There are more people of Polish ancestry in Detroit than in most of the leading cities in Poland, and more than twice as many people of Italian ancestry in New York as in Venice.

The sheer magnitude of American ethnic communities makes them autonomous cultures with lives of their own--neither copies of some "mainstream" model nor mere overseas branches of some other country's culture. Chow mein, the St. Patrick's Day parade, and the Afro hairdo all originated on American soil. Far from taking direction from overseas, American ethnic communities have supplied leadership to their countries of origin. The first president of Ireland, Eamon de Valera, was born in Brooklyn. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was . . .

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