NONFICTION

American Immigration: Our History, Our Stories

HarperCollins. Jun. 2020. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062381132.
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Gr 5-8–Krull explores the history of immigration in America and strives to offer a comprehensive view of an issue that continues to impact many young people. The text traces the country’s complicated relationship with immigration and immigrants up to the current rulings of the Trump administration. Breaking chapters up with “Immigrant Story” and “Pro and Con” subsections, the narrative moves quickly. However, factual errors, misrepresentations, and oversimplifications prevent the book from achieving its full objective. For example, chapter 12 states “America won the (Mexican-American) War and promptly swallowed, or took over, present-day Texas.” Texas was annexed by the U.S. in 1845 and became the 28th state before the war started the following year. The admittedly brief section regarding Andrew Jackson’s treatment of Native people omits the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Throughout the text, and particularly beginning in chapter eight, the word “Muslim” is used as a term denoting both religious and ethnic identity. The interchanging usage of the word without proper explanation could confuse young readers. The text also lacks a substantive discussion of the role the U.S. played in creating the military and humanitarian crises that have driven and continue to drive waves of immigration from around the world. There is little to no mention of U.S. sanctions, coups, puppet governments, or many other destabilizing interventions.
VERDICT An admirable attempt to address complicated and timely issues concerning immigration throughout U.S. history up to the present day, but the text is unfortunately marred by factual errors, misrepresentations, and oversimplifications.

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