Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans

Article excerpt

Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans. Edited by Ronald H. Bayor. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, 2011. 4 vols. acid free $380 (ISBN: 9780-3133-5786-2). E-book available (978-0-3133-5787-9), call for pricing.

Interest in immigrant groups in the United States has always been high, thus the publication of the mainstay single-volume Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (Belknap Pr. of the Harvard Univ. Pr., 1980) to try to meet the need for historical and detailed information on major immigrant groups and causes of their migration to the United States. The Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, 2nd ed. (Gale, 2000), at 152 entries, profiles both immigrant groups and Native American nations. In the title under review, Ronald Bayor, immigration scholar and founding editor of the Journal of American Ethnic History, wanted to add to the existing reference literature on immigrants to the United States by profiling the countries that have sent immigrants for the most part after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act.

In this four-volume set, fifty countries arranged alphabetically, and their major emigrant groups are described in essays of between 10,000 and 20,000 words each, written by scholars who are often from the area being profiled. Readers will recognize sending countries such as Mexico and Cambodia while learning about less well-known countries and their emigrants such as Bangladesh and Trinidad and Tobago.

A very useful introduction to the history of U.S. immigration, from European settlers in the 1500s through Arizona's 2010 law on undocumented immigrants, kicks off the set, followed by a brief chronology. Topic sections for each immigrant-sending nation include a chronology related to issues leading to emigration from the country; background; causes and waves of migration; demographic profile; adjustment and adaptation to the United States, with descriptions of cultural and national practices such as foodways, rituals, and holidays; integration and impact on U. …

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