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Cover Art
Author Stave, Bruce M.

Title From the old country : an oral history of the European migration to America / Bruce M. Stave, John F. Sutherland, with Aldo Salerno.

Published New York : Twayne ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, [1994]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  973.04034 STAV    AVAILABLE
Physical description xx, 281 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Series Twayne's oral history series ; no. 12.
Twayne's oral history series ; no. 12.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 271-276) and index.
Summary For nearly a century, the symbol of the American "melting pot" - namely that all cultures are transformed into a single American identity - has enjoyed considerable popularity. Bruce M. Stave and John F. Sutherland offer the reader an opportunity to explore and question this and other concepts in From the Old Country, an oral history comprising the voices of the early European immigrants - the Irish, Scandinavians, Italians, Jews, Poles, Slavs, and others - who came to America by the millions between the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. The authors, both practicing oral historians, have compiled their interviews and others conducted by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s. This resulting blend is a new and enlightening, sometimes disturbing, perspective on the forefathers and foremothers who gave so much to the country that they have adopted as their own. Their interviews, combined with those of the WPA, enable the authors to offer the reader a perspective of at least three generations of immigrant experience. From the Old Country presents the concept that while there were, and are, many common experiences encountered by the American immigrant, there are also experiences that are not shared by all ethnic groups and individuals. For example, the myth of the uprooted, sequestered immigrant is dispelled, and revealed are the support networks of friends and families that helped to find jobs, homes, and in general, helped to relieve the sense of alienation that was often felt by the newcomers. Especially intriguing is the candidness with which many of the WPA interviewees express the prejudices and bigotries felt towards other ethnic groups, and at times even ofthe internal suspicions that served to divide rather than strengthen. Stave and Sutherland, in this clearly narrated collection of oral testimonies, follow the entire immigrant experience including the role that the family unit played, both economically and socially. Of special interest to women's studies is the place that the immigrant women held in the new world - the changing of traditional relationships between men and women, and within families, and ultimately the growing involvement with the political movement for women's autonomy. Ending with a nontraditional roundtable discussion, the authors are joined by Aldo Salerno, a research assistant for this book. Together the three summarize and discuss the implication of the oral histories they have recorded, and their meaning for the study of immigration today. More important they bring to life the theme that the immigrant experience is not something of the past, but a reality of the present. From the Old Country is an invaluable tool for any scholar, student, or individual who has the need to know, and to learn, more of what it means to be American today.
Other author Sutherland, John F. (John Fulton), 1938-
Salerno, Aldo.
Subject European Americans -- History.
Immigrants -- United States -- Interviews.
United States -- Emigration and immigration -- History.
Europe -- Emigration and immigration -- History.
United States -- Ethnic relations.
ISBN 0805791094 (alk. paper)