From Ellis Island to JFK: New York's Two Great Waves of Immigration

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Yale University Press, 2000 - History - 334 pages
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In the history, the very personality, of New York City, few events loom larger than the wave of immigration at the turn of the last century. Today a similar influx of new immigrants is transforming the city again. Better than one in three New Yorkers is now an immigrant. From Ellis Island to JFK is the first in-depth study that compares these two huge social changes.

A key contribution of this book is Nancy Foner's reassessment of the myths that have grown up around the earlier Jewish and Italian immigration--and that deeply color how today's Asian, Latin American, and Caribbean arrivals are seen. Topic by topic, she reveals the often surprising realities of both immigrations. For example:
  • Education: Most Jews, despite the myth, were not exceptional students at first, while many immigrant children today do remarkably well.
  • Jobs: Immigrants of both eras came with more skills than is popularly supposed. Some today come off the plane with advanced degrees and capital to start new businesses.
  • Neighborhoods: Ethnic enclaves are still with us but they're no longer always slums--today's new immigrants are reviving many neighborhoods and some are moving to middle-class suburbs.
  • Gender: For married women a century ago, immigration often, surprisingly, meant less opportunity to work outside the home. Today, it's just the opposite.
  • Race: We see Jews and Italians as whites today, but to turn-of-the-century scholars they were members of different, alien races. Immigrants today appear more racially diverse--but some (particularly Asians) may be changing the boundaries of current racial categories.

Drawing on a wealth of historical and contemporary research and written in a lively and entertaining style, the book opens a new chapter in the study of immigration--and the story of the nation's gateway city.
 

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FROM ELLIS ISLAND TO JFK: New York's Two Great Waves of Immigration

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A well-documented and scrupulously researched look at New York City's two greatest waves of immigration.Foner (Anthropology/Purchase Coll.) compares and contrasts the experiences of the largely Jewish ... Read full review

From Ellis Island to JFK: New York's two great waves of immigration

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Between 1880 and 1920, a great wave of immigrants added a million and a half newcomersDmostly eastern European Jews and southern ItaliansDto New York City's population. Now a new wave of immigrants ... Read full review

Contents

1 Who They Are and Why They Have Come
9
2 Where They Live
36
3 The Work They Do
70
4 Immigrant Women and Work
108
5 The Sting of Prejudice
142
6 Transnational Ties
169
7 Going to School
188
8 A Look Backwardand Forward
224
Notes
245
References
289
Index
323
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About the author (2000)

Nancy Foner is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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