America for Americans

America for Americans

A History of Xenophobia in the United States

Book - 2019
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"The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of xenophobia. In [this book], acclaimed historian Erika Lee shows that an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era. Americans have been wary of almost every group of foreigners that has come to the United States. Benjamin Franklin ridiculed German immigrants for their 'strange and foreign ways.' Americans' anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement in the 1850s. Over the century that followed, Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese incarcerated, and Mexicans deported. Today, Americans fear Muslims, Central Americans, and the so-called browning of America. Xenophobia has not been an exception to America's immigration tradition, an episodic aberration on an inevitable march toward inclusion. It is, in fact, Lee argues, an American tradition in its own right, deeply embedded in our society, economy, and politics, Forcing us to confront this history, [this book] explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens us all. It is a necessary corrective and spur to action for any concerned citizen."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY : Basic Books, 2019
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781541672604
Characteristics: vii, 416 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Dec 11, 2020

Author Lee asks the question of whether America is truly a nation of immigrants or one driven by xenophobia, making it a country for ‘native’ Americans. A University of Minnesota professor, Lee received a 2020 nomination for the Minnesota Book Award for Nonfiction for this book.

Xenophobia has followed America’s history with immigrants from Benjamin Franklin to the current Trump years, with successive nationalities bearing the brunt of scrutiny and either favored or rejected treatment. Eye-opening, very readable, highly recommended.


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