Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States

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Product Code: 3170
ISBN: 9780807055588
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 392
Published Date: 08/23/2022
Availability: Not currently available.
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Price: $17.95

Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US’s history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.

She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity—founded and built by immigrants—was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel good—but inaccurate—story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception.

While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.


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Contents

Introduction

CHAPTER 1
Alexander Hamilton

CHAPTER 2
Settler Colonialism

CHAPTER 3
Arrivants

CHAPTER 4
Continental Imperialism

CHAPTER 5
Irish Settling

CHAPTER 6
Americanizing Columbus

CHAPTER 7
“Yellow Peril”

CHAPTER 8
The Border

Conclusion

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

“Her thought-work and writing are both full-force with courage and wisdom. In the age of telling truth, she says, the US has yet to correct its narrative to acknowledge its settler-colonialist and imperialist past and present. This book should be taught in classrooms; readers will finish it changed.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“Dunbar-Ortiz’s message is clear: uplifting narratives about the United States as a ‘nation of immigrants’ allow the country to hide from its history of colonialism, genocide, slavery, and racism . . . . [T]his thought-provoking account will prove insightful for all.” —Library Journal

“This impassioned and well-documented history pulls no punches.” —Publishers Weekly

“Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz rightly argues that the United States is not ‘a nation of immigrants’ but, more accurately, a nation of colonizers. A must-read.” —Nick Estes (Lakota), author of Our History Is the Future

Not ‘A Nation of Immigrants’ challenges to the core one of the most dominant narratives about the United States, as a country founded by and welcoming for immigrants. Dunbar-Ortiz’s captivating and accessible historical account forces a reckoning with the various layers of the US imperialist project, from territorial control to economic and political influence at the expense of Black populations, migrants, and Indigenous peoples. This myth-shattering book addresses one of the most pressing challenges of our time by demonstrating the implications of white supremacy across time, across groups and spaces, and the connections between them. If there is hope for transformation, it is through the careful, systematic work that this book exemplifies by examining the roots of racism and structural inequality, and bringing forward alternative narratives and movements. It is a must-read.” —Alexandra Délano Alonso, author of México and Its Diaspora in the United States: Policies of Emigration Since 1848

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