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Guarding the Golden Door: American…

Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants since…

by Roger Daniels

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In this ambitious book, Roger Daniels attempts to trace the history of immigration in the United States from 1882 to the present day. The massive scope of the book means that it is filled with valuable information, but it also means that the mere 328 pages (with only 268 pages making up the body of the book) are rather too jam-packed with facts and figures for the average reader.

There’s no doubt that I learned a lot from this book. Daniels explores so many facets of immigration that it’s hard to imagine the reader who wouldn’t learn something. , but to be honest, this book brought on a classic case of information overload.

Guarding the Golden Door contains plenty of information, but it’s lacking the human element that can make history compelling. A single narrative about an immigrant may not give readers a sense of the scope of the issue, but it can make a bigger impact, especially if it is couched in a discussion that brings in some of the larger issues. Only rarely does Daniels mention actual individuals behind the numbers, and I needed to hear their voices.

This book might be very helpful for a class on immigration or as a reference to keep on the shelf, but it’s not really a great read.

See my complete review at Shelf Love. ( )
  teresakayep | Sep 28, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809053446, Paperback)

"Arguably the most useful for general readers. Clearly written, reasonably lean and on the whole, balanced in its assessments, it is an excellent primer." --Los Angeles Times

The federal government's efforts to pick and choose among the multitude of immigrants seeking to enter the United States began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Conceived in ignorance and falsely presented to the public, it had undreamt of consequences, and this pattern has been rarely deviated from since. As renowned historian Roger Daniels shows in this brilliant new work, America's inconsistent, often illogical, and always cumbersome immigration policy has profoundly affected our recent past.

Immigration policy in Daniels' skilled hands shows Americans at their best and worst, from the nativist violence that forced Theodore Roosevelt's 1907 "gentlemen's agreement" with Japan to the generous refugee policies adopted after World War Two and throughout the Cold War. And in a conclusion drawn from today's headlines, Daniels makes clear how far ignorance, partisan politics, and unintended consequences have overtaken immigration policy during the current administration's War on Terror.

Irreverent, deeply informed, and authoritative, Guarding the Golden Door presents an unforgettable interpretation of modern American history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:44 -0400)

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