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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

2005, Vol. 5 No. 1 .


Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America
Rumbaut, Ruben G., and Portes, Alejandro (eds)

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001
353 pp 12.50 PB ISBN 0-520-23012-4


The book offers an extensive consideration of the major ethnicities within the American population, including discussion of the experiences of first and latter generations of immigrants and their amalgamation into American society. Key issues covered include education, career, health and social concerns facing immigrant groups and the evolving challenges to their position and status as ?Americans?.

The excellent use of statistics and illustrations enhance the reader?s understanding of the issues covered in the volume. Furthermore, the inclusion of testimonies from immigrants and their families enriches the more theoretical aspects of the book. A consistent theme within the volume is the struggle for acceptance and equality. Once established in America, immigrant groups continued to remain on the periphery of the ?American dream? until educational or professional achievement enabled individuals or families to avail of the benefits of living in a wealthy democratic nation.

Regarding potential readers, this volume provides an insight for undergraduate students whose degree programmes include a focus on: labour and economic development in America; the impact of ethnicity on family, education and career opportunities of immigrants and their children; and social change in America or social policy in multi-ethnic nations. In addition, this book is an invaluable source of data for research students engaged in projects related to American Social History, the Sociology of immigrant peoples, and the development of government services and non-governmental care and support for immigrant groups.

A constructive criticism would be that the heavy reliance on statistical data may discourage potential readers from non-academic spheres ? especially since the market for works on American issues is vast.


Patricia Connolly, PhD Student, School of Communication, University of Ulster



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