Professor Vincent J. Cannato delivers a definitive history of America's landmark port of entry. From eyewitness accounts, Cannato weaves together a poignant testament to the hopes and fears of "huddled masses yearning to breathe free."More
"Never before has Ellis Island been written about with such scholarly care and historical wisdom. Highly recommended!" (Douglas Brinkley, historian)
"Using a variety of primary sources, Cannato describes Ellis Island as a place and as an experience....He follows its reincarnation as a detention center for wartime aliens and as a monument and museum, which he admits may celebrate uncritically 'ethnic triumphalism' and upward mobility. Cannato writes that understaffing resulted in only perfunctory screening for mental, physical, and moral traits that might have made newcomers public charges, and he disabuses readers of the fallacy that examiners, rather than steamship officials or immigrants bent on assimilation, changed entrants' last names.....This measured book helps to place in perspective discussions - sure to matter to genealogists and those engaged in political discourse - of Ellis Island and the idea of immigration as a privilege rather than a right. Essential reading." (Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress, School Library Journal)
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Careful and nuanced
Overall interesting but a bit rambling at times
- Kim Hamacher