American Passage: The History of Ellis Island (Google eBook)

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Jun 9, 2009 - History - 512 pages
32 Reviews

For most of New York's early history, Ellis Island had been an obscure little island that barely held itself above high tide. Today the small island stands alongside Plymouth Rock in our nation's founding mythology as the place where many of our ancestors first touched American soil. Ellis Island's heyday—from 1892 to 1924—coincided with one of the greatest mass movements of individuals the world has ever seen, with some twelve million immigrants inspected at its gates. In American Passage, Vincent J. Cannato masterfully illuminates the story of Ellis Island from the days when it hosted pirate hangings witnessed by thousands of New Yorkers in the nineteenth century to the turn of the twentieth century when massive migrations sparked fierce debate and hopeful new immigrants often encountered corruption, harsh conditions, and political scheming.

American Passage captures a time and a place unparalleled in American immigration and history, and articulates the dramatic and bittersweet accounts of the immigrants, officials, interpreters, and social reformers who all play an important role in Ellis Island's chronicle. Cannato traces the politics, prejudices, and ideologies that surrounded the great immigration debate, to the shift from immigration to detention of aliens during World War II and the Cold War, all the way to the rebirth of the island as a national monument. Long after Ellis Island ceased to be the nation's preeminent immigrant inspection station, the debates that once swirled around it are still relevant to Americans a century later.

In this sweeping, often heart-wrenching epic, Cannato reveals that the history of Ellis Island is ultimately the story of what it means to be an American.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thornton37814 - LibraryThing

Cannato, a descendant of Ellis Island immigrants, takes a look at the history of the island. Although there is information on the early history of the island and on the use of the island after its ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cyderry - LibraryThing

For anyone who has ancestors who came through Ellis Island, this is book that will shed light on the difficulties that were presented to them. Until 1920, just about all white immigrants were allowed ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Island
19
Castle Garden
30
A Proper Sieve
57
Peril at the Portals
70
Brahmins
95
Feud
107
Cleaning House
127
PART IV
287
War
289
Revolution
311
Quotas
330
Prison
350
PART V
377
Decline
379
The New Plymouth Rock
391

Fighting Back
149
The Roosevelt Straddle
165
Likely to Become a Public
191
Czar Williams
216
Intelligence
238
Moral Turpitude
260
Epilogue
410
Acknowledgments
421
Notes
424
Index
473
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Vincent J. Cannato teaches history at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author of The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Bibliographic information