The New Americans: Seven Families Journey to Another Country

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9781565849983: The New Americans: Seven Families Journey to Another Country
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"Fresh, nuanced and insightful....[A] thoughtful, readable contribution to the immigration debates. —Houston Chronicle

Spanning four continents and several years in the lives of seven immigrant families, The New Americans is at once the most globe-trotting and intimate introduction to the new American immigration. Emmy award-winning journalist Rubén Martínez's "powerful and perceptive chronicle" (Booklist) lyrically recounts the dramatic voyages and day-to-day experiences of a small group of families who were featured in the PBS documentary of the same name. They come from Mexico, Nigeria, Palestine, India, and the Dominican Republic, and wind up in Chicago, Montana, Silicon Valley, and the California badlands. Their stories—told with "enthralling" (Publishers Weekly) literary skill, and illustrated with stunning portraits from award-winning photographer Joseph Rodriguez—paint a portrait of the new, multicultural America.

Martínez weaves his own family's moving immigrant history into the book, and essays on the films of Indian American director Mira Nair, the contemporary corridos of Mexican border musicians Los Tigres del Norte, and other immigrant artists explore the ways the new immigrant culture is transforming the United States.

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About the Author:

Journalist, poet, and performer Rubén Martínez is associate professor of creative writing at the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He is the author of Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail and The Other Side: Notes from the New L.A., Mexico City, and Beyond.

From Publishers Weekly:

This enthralling collection of companion essays to the upcoming PBS series on immigration explores a foundational aspect of the American identity. Martínez, a radio and TV commentator and author of Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, looks at five recent immigrants whose circumstances and experiences vary widely: a relative of martyred Nigerian human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa making her way in Chicago; a Mexican migrant worker trying to bring his family across the border; two Dominican baseball players who stand out on a minor league team in Great Falls, Montana; an Indian computer programmer who moves to Silicon Valley on the eve of the dot-com crash; and a Palestinian woman, weary of the struggle on the West Bank, who marries a Palestinian-American man trying to connect with the intifada. Through their stories, his own reminiscences and additional pieces on immigrant cultural phenomena from filmmaker Mira Nair to the narco-corrido band Los Tigres del Norte, he explores the competing pull of New World modernity and freedom versus Old World tradition and community, the loneliness of strangers in a strange land, and the conflicting meanings that America holds for immigrants and that immigrants hold for America. Masterfully evoking such diverse settings as a Palestinian wedding in Chicago, a raucous ball game in Guatemala City and a torpid migrant trailer camp in California, Martínez’s writing is clear-eyed and incisive—and sometimes heartbreaking and hilarious. Photos.
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