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A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America

af Ronald Takaki

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1,010914,965 (4.01)14
A dramatic new retelling of our nation's past. Beginning with the colonization of the New World, it recounts the history of America in the voice of the non-Anglo peoples of the United States--Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and others--groups who helped create this country's rich mosaic culture. Now, Ronald Takaki has revised his landmark work and made it even more relevant and important. Among the new additions to the book are: the role of black soldiers in preserving the Union; the history of Chinese Americans from 1900-1941; an investigation into the hot-button issue of "illegal" immigrants from Mexico; and a look at the sudden visibility of Muslim refugees from Afghanistan. This new edition grapples with the raw truth of American history and examines the ultimate question of what it means to be an American.--From publisher description.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 9 (næste | vis alle)
Takaki's sweeping text is an excellent introduction to the history of people in the United States who have been oppressed and exploited by the dominant White culture. Really, what he writes in this book is a robust, and concentrated narrative of history that does not shy away from real hurt, violence and affords the reader many opportunities to reflect on how racist and fearful policies of the past are recapitulated in a modern context. While Takaki goes into the violent and painful legacy of violence in the United States he also offers his own story, and a tangible vision of hope for a pluralistic multi-cultural society where all people are treated with dignity and respect.
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
Good primer but would need supplemental resources. This book looks at the history of the United States as told by people who came to the country in search for a better life. It is not strictly about immigrating to the US in itself, but rather why and how they came here and what challenges, successes, prejudices, etc. they encountered while trying to make their way on this land.
 
It is quite dense (in a good way) in the text of the groups that came (or how they adapted/coped in the case of Native Americans). There is a great deal of ground to cover and obviously it's not possible to do all of them justice. But there is probably a great deal to learn. I knew about the Chinese men who came and their struggles with being unable to bring their wives (in contrast to many of the Chinese women who were brought over and subjected to sexual slavery) but I did not know many of the stories like the Japanese in Hawaii as one example. 
 
In many ways the book is great in giving us snapshots of various groups, providing historical context that is likely just not taught unless you take a special class or happen to read about it in a book. But as others point out sometimes it can get formulaic (group moves to the United States, is the target of discrimination and struggles/adapts). Which is rather horrible in itself repeating over and over again. The framing device in using Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' and Caliban in particular is quite annoying (since I haven't read this play or watched any adaptation of it I kept wondering why Takaki kept mentioning Caliban/'The Tempest').
 
But if you liked Howard Zinn's 'A People's History Of The United States' you might like this. It's actually been many MANY years since I've read Zinn's book but as I read I couldn't help but think of that text. Takaki's book would make a good compliment but as mentioned it's a rather thick book.
 
Some other recommended readings to go along with this (perhaps to expand) would include: 'The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration', 'The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness', 'The Making of Asian America', and 'Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask'. There are probably tons more really great books but those are some I can think of off the cuff. That said, this is a book that you can probably read on its own but you might get more out of it if you have other sources to compliment your reading. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
I found this book a profoundly moving, profoundly sobering look at the history of our country. It is also a book I couldn't recommend more enthusiastically. In my opinion it is a "must read." I first came across the title on a book table set up by two women who came to NCF to talk about Reba Place's experience with racial reconciliation. I carried the title around with me for a year or two and finally checked it out at the public library. I don't know if I've ever been impacted so strongly by a book before. Takaki, a third-generation American (as is my mother) covers American history from the perspective of some of the various minorities that have made America their home, and one that is indigenous. He covers African Americans, Irish Americans, Mexican Americans, Chinese Americans, Native Americans, Japanese Americans, and Jewish Americans from the beginnings of our country to the early 1990s. He evenhandedly paints a picture of the reality of American experience for these different groups. He describes the difficulties they had both on a societal level and on an official government policy level. For those who shudder at the thought of reading through a dry history, never fear. This book is most readable. In fact it is downright engaging. Even eloquent. It is heart-changing. Read it.
(Carolyn Vance)
  NCFChampaign | Dec 4, 2017 |
Such an informative book! ( )
  ElOsoBlanco | Jul 15, 2013 |
Takaki does an absolutely phenomenal job in exploring the history of multicultural America highlighting the often ignored and left out parts of history that showcase just how badly the "white european" treated anyone else. It's a great introduction to real American history not the whitewashed versions heard in grade school. It covers nearly every "race" and ethnicity except the Arabs which is why I can only give it 4 stars. By leaving out Arabs it's left out the immigrants from an entire region of the earth. Otherwise the book covers pretty much everyone. Takaki's writing style is fluid and easy to follow making it easy to read an understand yet contains enough depth that it stimulates thought and discussion. ( )
  CassandraStrand | Jul 5, 2011 |
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A dramatic new retelling of our nation's past. Beginning with the colonization of the New World, it recounts the history of America in the voice of the non-Anglo peoples of the United States--Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and others--groups who helped create this country's rich mosaic culture. Now, Ronald Takaki has revised his landmark work and made it even more relevant and important. Among the new additions to the book are: the role of black soldiers in preserving the Union; the history of Chinese Americans from 1900-1941; an investigation into the hot-button issue of "illegal" immigrants from Mexico; and a look at the sudden visibility of Muslim refugees from Afghanistan. This new edition grapples with the raw truth of American history and examines the ultimate question of what it means to be an American.--From publisher description.

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