*Read E-pub × Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing: A Library of America Special Publication ê eBook or Kindle ePUB free

*Read E-pub ⚶ Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing: A Library of America Special Publication á Immigration is the essential American story From London or Lvov, Bombay or Beijing, Dublin or Dusseldorf, people have come to America to remake themselves, their lives, and their identities Despite political obstacles, popular indifference, or hostility, they put down roots here, and their social, cultural, and entrepreneurial energies helped forge the open and diverse society we live in The history of American immigration has often been told by those already here Becoming Americans tells this epic story from the inside, gathering for the first time overyears of writing from seventeenth century Jamestown to contemporary Brooklyn and Los Angeles by first generation immigrants about the immigrant experience In sum, over eighty writers create a vivid, passionate, and revealing firsthand account of the challenges and aspirations that define our dynamic multicultural societyIn nearlyselections poems, stories, novel excerpts, travel pieces, diary entries, memoirs, and letters Becoming Americans presents the full range of the experience of coming to America the reasons for departure, the journey itself, the shock and spectacle of first arrival, the passionate ambivalence toward the old country and the old life, and above all the struggle with the complexities of America Arranged in chronological order by date of arrival, this unprecedented collection presents a history of the United States that is both familiar and surprisingly new, as seen through the fresh eyes and words of newcomers from than forty different countries A Love Letter To The United StatesIn the most iconic of American poems, The New Colossus , Emma Lazarus wrote about the meaning of the then new Statue of Liberty Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door Lazarus s poem frames Becoming Americans , a new anthology from the Library of America which manages both to examine and to celebrat A Love Letter To The United StatesIn the most iconic of American poems, The New Colossus , Emma Lazarus wrote about the meaning of the then new Statue of Liberty Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door Lazarus s poem frames Becoming Americans , a new anthology from the Library of America which manages both to examine and to celebrate the American immigrant experience The volume is edited by Ilan Stavans, professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College Stavans is himself an immigrant of unusual background Born in Mexico City in 1961 to a Jewish family of immigrants from East Europe, Stavans immigrated to the United States in 1961 He thus is able to write of his own American experience from a unique Jewish Latino perspective Stavans wrote the introduction to this volume and also contributed a selection from his autobiography which describes his experiences as a Mexican Jew In a revealing interview he gave to the Library of America upon the publication of this volume, Stavans described Becoming Americans as my love letter to the United States, a tolerant, warm hearted country that has been extraordinarily generous to me as an immigrant Among other things, the country has allowed me to explore my talents to the limit The book consists of nearly 700 pages of text together with a chronology of immigration to America beginning with the settlement at Jamestown in 1607 The anthology includes selections from 85 writers describing their varied experiences in coming to the United States from 45 countries The selection begins in 1623 with a letter from one Richard Frethorne to his parents setting forth the hardships of life at Jamestown It concludes with a 2003 selection by Richard Rodriguez, the child of immigrants from Mexico, from his novel Hunger of Memory , describing his childhood difficulties with the English language Rodriguez is the only contributor to the volume who was born in the United States.The materials are arranged in chronological order from date of arrival in America and are drawn from a variety of sources, including letters, diaries, essays, poems, stories, and novels Each entry includes a short biographical sketch by Stavans to put the text in perspective While the volume as a whole merits Stavans s characterization as a love letter , the individual entries show little trace of illusion or sentimentality Immigrants have faced difficult journeys, hard choices, and long struggles in the United States, and they are amply documented here The book documents the ambivalences many immigrants experienced in coming to terms with the New World, including the inevitable choice each person had to face about the degree to which he or she would assimilate to the new land or attempt to maintain the traditions and values of the old land The theme of coming to a new land with a different and difficult language, English, runs through many of the entries in this collection.The selections vary in length and in interest Taken as a whole, they capture a great deal about the immigration experience and about the United States itself, from New York to the Midwest, to Texas, California, and points between Blanket generalization would be foolhardy But I would like to mention some of the entries that I particularly enjoyed.In the small group of entries from Colonial America, I liked James Revel s poem describing the experience of a felon transported to Virginia as punishment for theft as well as Phylis Wheatley s short famous poem On being brought from Africa to America Early 19th Century selections include excerpts from John James Audubon, from Mozart s librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, who came to the United States late in his life, and from Carl Schurz, a German immigrant who became a Civil War General and later the Secretary of the Interior.Later selections include short poetry by unnamed Chinese immigrants arriving at Angel Island in San Francisco Bay A selection from a novelist, Anzia Yezierska, who was unfamiliar to me, describes the conflict between a young immigrant woman who has managed to secure a college education and her traditional, unlettered parents I would like to readof this author Other East European Jewish immigrants presented include Abraham Cahan, from his Autobiography, Henry Roth, from his novel Call it Sleep and and Issac Bashevis Singer, in his outstanding short story A Wedding in Brownsville The collection includes a letter from Thomas Mann, explaining his decision to stay in the United States rather than return to Germany after WW II, together with good selections from Palestinian Edward Said, and Czeslaw Milosz Among contemporary writers, I enjoyed the contribution of Jhumpa Lahiri, The Third and Final Continent describing the experiences of an educated immigrant from India and his new wife Gary Shteyngart s comic The mother tongue between two slices of rye , Gary Delanty s poem about immigration from Ireland, We will not play the Harp Backward Now, No , and Stavans s own autobiographical essay were other highlights.Cristopher Isherwood 1904 1986 came to the United States in 1939 with the poet W.H Auden, both of whom are represented in this volume The selection from Isherwood s diaries includes the following reflection which I thought captured something of the tone of many of the selections regarding the many faceted, ironic, and outsider character of American immigrant life Isherwood writes p 335 Actually, in my sane moments, I love this country I love it just because I don t belong Because I m not involved in its traditions, not born under the curse of its history I feel free here I m on my own My life will be what I make of it So should the American ideal be for both immigrants and for those born in the United States to have life be what I make of it For both natives and immigrants, this anthology helps explore the never ending process and promise of becoming Americans and of the American dream.Robin Friedman There s a lot in this book to love an interesting topic, and a complement of fine authors and sparkling historical figures from whom the selections are drawn but somehow, this anthology is a slog Part of the problem for me is that many of the selections, at least in the first half, focus on the moment the immigrant arrives in the U.S Sometimes that s exciting, but lots of these selections are variations on the same theme of being alone and powerless in an unfamiliar place Often, I m bett There s a lot in this book to love an interesting topic, and a complement of fine authors and sparkling historical figures from whom the selections are drawn but somehow, this anthology is a slog Part of the problem for me is that many of the selections, at least in the first half, focus on the moment the immigrant arrives in the U.S Sometimes that s exciting, but lots of these selections are variations on the same theme of being alone and powerless in an unfamiliar place Often, I m betting,interesting and varied parts of the immigrant experience come later in these lives, possibly much later, and involve much deeper levels of identity, as the immigrants fight in America s armed forces, marry native born spouses, negotiate family identities with native born children, or watch successive waves of immigrants arrive in the country Perhaps later selections haveof this, but I haven t noticed a lot of diversity so far At this point, I m shifting from reading straight through to dipping in and out, with no particular end date in mind A superb collection of stories, poems, memoirs, and other writings that provide a vivid composite picture of this great nation of ours as it is experienced and perceived by new arrivals from around the world, past and present The writing is almost uniformly brilliant, and several of the stories have prompted me to read entire books by their authors These are not simple, starry eyed tributes to America There is a good deal of pain in many of these accounts the pain of rejection, the pain of d A superb collection of stories, poems, memoirs, and other writings that provide a vivid composite picture of this great nation of ours as it is experienced and perceived by new arrivals from around the world, past and present The writing is almost uniformly brilliant, and several of the stories have prompted me to read entire books by their authors These are not simple, starry eyed tributes to America There is a good deal of pain in many of these accounts the pain of rejection, the pain of discrimination, the pain of losing one s original homeland and leaving behind one s family, friends and traditions But you do come away from this book with a far deeper and richer appreciation for both our country and its newest citizens It is the kind of book that the Library of America was made to produce, and with this one, they have truly done themselves proud