Distant Magnets: Expectations and Realities in the Immigrant Experience, 1840-1930


"In this illuminating book, an international array of distinguished scholars focus on an important but largely undocumented issue in immigration history: What did immigrants to industrializing Europe and America expect of life in those "distant magnets" to which they migrated in such large numbers from the mid-nineteenth century through the late 1920's? What were their dreams, illusions, myths, fears, and hopes? How were they received in their new societies, and how did they fare? What did they think about and how did they feel?" "To convey the breadth and diversity of the migration, the volume documents the experiences of peasant and working-class emigrants from England, Ireland, Scandinavia, Italy, Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Balkans, and East European Jewish communities. This comparative perspective enables the authors to distinguish similarities and differences among diverse immigrant groups, experiences, and destinations. Drawing on rare firsthand accounts and moving personal documents - letters, diaries, guidebooks, the labor and immigrant press, songs, poems, plays, novels - the essays chronicle the psychological and social as well as economic and political aspects of the immigrant experience. Evoking the rich texture and diversity of immigrant experience and mentalities, this unique and engaging work makes an important contribution to our understanding of the complex processes of migration and acculturation. The book will be essential for all readers interested in immigration, labor, and ethnic history, and in the personal dimension of the immigrant story." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Nancy L. Green
  • Laura Levine Frader
  • Pierre Milza
  • Michael John
  • Albert Lichtblau
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1993


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