The Polish Peasant in Europe and America

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University of Illinois Press, 1984 - Social Science - 310 pages
This new, abridged edition of the classic five-volume work The Polish Peasant in Europe and America brings together documents and commentary that illuminate the lives of the nearly two million Poles who emigrated to America between 1880 and 1910. The new introduction and epilogue make the book especially valuable in teaching United States history survey courses as well as immigration history and introductory sociology courses.

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Editors Introduction

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About the author (1984)

W. I. Thomas, an American sociologist, received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago after studying at the universities of Berlin and Gottingen. He published several important books on a variety of subjects, but he probably would not have become famous had he not written The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1984), a study of the Americanization of Polish immigrants to the United States at the turn of the century. Coauthored with Florian Znaniecki, a Polish sociologist who helped him interpret Polish culture, this massive two-volume work became a classic example of how such personal documents as letters and diaries can be combined with interviews to study social change. Ten years after its publication, in a journal article, Thomas used the phrase "If men define situations as real they are real in their consequences"---a phrase extensively quoted to this day in order stress the importance of perception over reality in people's lives.

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