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One Mighty and Irresistible Tide

Nonfiction: History
Unabridged   14 hour(s)
Publication date: 05/19/2020

One Mighty and Irresistible Tide

The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924-1965

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684576579
Digital Download ISBN:9781684579143


A sweeping history of the twentieth-century battle to reform American immigration laws that set the stage for today's roiling debates.

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Product Description

The idea of the United States as a nation of immigrants is at the core of the American narrative. But in 1924, Congress instituted a system of ethnic quotas so stringent that it choked off large-scale immigration for decades, sharply curtailing arrivals from southern and eastern Europe and outright banning those from nearly all of Asia.

In a riveting narrative filled with a fascinating cast of characters, from the indefatigable congressman Emanuel Celler and senator Herbert Lehman to the bull-headed Nevada senator Pat McCarran, Jia Lynn Yang recounts how lawmakers, activists, and presidents from Truman through LBJ worked relentlessly to abolish the 1924 law. Through a world war, a refugee crisis after the Holocaust, and a McCarthyist fever, a coalition of lawmakers and activists descended from Jewish, Irish, and Japanese immigrants fought to establish a new principle of equality in the American immigration system. Their crowning achievement, the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, proved to be one of the most transformative laws in the country's history, opening the door to nonwhite migration at levels never seen before—and changing America in ways that those who debated it could hardly have imagined.


"Merlington clearly delivers author Jia Lynn Yang's meticulously researched history, displaying remarkable restraint as she allows the ugliness of anti-immigrant sentiment and the racist political machinations of the era to speak for themselves. By injecting just the right amount of momentum and liveliness, Merlington creates a thoroughly engaging listen on an all-too-timely topic.” -AudioFile

“Yang’s compelling history could not be more timely.... The combination of meticulous research and captivating writing creates a beautiful surprise; a dark history that gleams under the spotlight of unvarnished truthtelling. Expect a lot of reader requests and award attention for this significant title.” -Booklist Starred Review

“Excellent....Critical in understanding today’s immigration issues.” -Kirkus Starred Review

“Yang’s comprehensive and easy-to-follow record of a crucial period in the evolution of U.S. immigration policy sheds light on the political, cultural, and historical considerations behind this contentious issue. Readers seeking insights into contemporary proposals to reform the system will find plenty in this lucid account.” -Publishers Weekly

Author Bio

Jia Lynn Yang, a deputy national editor at the New York Times, was previously deputy national security editor at the Washington Post, where she was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Trump and Russia. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.