Immigrant Book Critique

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Sarah Brownson
HIST 195
Immigrant Book Critique

“Where do we go from here?” This is the question that resounded through most peoples’ heads as they walked through the Golden Gates of Ellis Island into America for the first time. Ellis Island Interviews by Peter Morton Coan does a great job describing the history of Ellis Island and the personal encounters of a fraction of immigrants who passed through in their journey to start a new life. Ellis Island was active from January 1, 1892 to November 12, 1954. During that time, more than 24 million people were processed for immigration into the United States of America. The beginning of this book, Coan gives a very thorough explanation of the history of Ellis Island and what happened there. After the background information comes the many different stories of the personal accounts from the last surviving immigrants who came through Ellis Island. 28 different countries are represented in this book with multiple stories for each country about why each person came to America, their experience coming through Ellis Island, and what happened to them after they assimilated into the American culture. After reading this book, Coan makes it clear why we must be informed about the history of immigration, not only because it is our ancestors, but also because of the similarities to immigration issues today. Ellis Island Interviews is a great book to learn about the history of immigration in America. In the beginning of Ellis Island Interviews, Coan gives a detailed history of Ellis Island from the time it was opened in 1892, to the day it was shut down in 1954. Before Ellis Island, in 1855, an old fort on the Hudson River named Castle Garden became the first established immigration depot. The government felt a depot was necessary to control the millions of Irish arriving in America fleeing the potato famine. The purpose of Castle Garden was to deny entrance to immigrants considered undesirable....
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