Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Making of Modern Immigration: An Enyclopedia of People and Ideas

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Making of Modern Immigration: An Enyclopedia of People and Ideas

Article excerpt

The Making of Modern Immigration: An Enyclopedia of People and Ideas. Ed. by Patrick J. Hayes. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2012. 2 vols. acid free $189 (ISBN 978-0313-39202-3). E-book available (978-0-313-39203-0), call for pricing.

In an age of Wikipedia and instant information reference, publishers continue their quest to identify a niche for their works. One approach has been to focus on narrower topics. Rather than dealing with immigration in its entirety, recent works such as Anti-Immigration in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, 2011) have looked at specific aspects. The present publication differentiates itself by its depth of analysis. Instead of offering hundreds of brief essays on every conceivable topic, there are fewer than fifty essays covering significant themes, historical events, and ideas. The self-described goal is to make "the past intelligible and interesting to those searching for fresh insight and accurate information" (xxii).

This approach has its advantages. The disadvantage is that a reader will not find the expected essays on topics like the Dream Act, Ellis Island, or the Know Nothing Party. These terms appear in the Index, but they do not have separate essays devoted to them; instead they are embedded in larger discussions. There are relatively few biographies, and where individuals are profiled, the emphasis is less on the person, and more on illuminating what their life stories reveal about immigration issues. Additionally, very few essays discuss the experiences of specific ethnic groups. This is not the resource for students seeking to document the cultures and achievements of Italian-Americans (or Taiwanese Americans, etc.), although some groups are discussed in relevant essays like Salvadorans in the Sanctuary Movement. Researchers seeking recent analysis of specific cultures should consult Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans. …

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