• One Mighty and Irresistible Tide

  • The Epic Struggle over American Immigration, 1924-1965
  • By: Jia Lynn Yang
  • Narrated by: Laural Merlington
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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One Mighty and Irresistible Tide

By: Jia Lynn Yang
Narrated by: Laural Merlington
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2020 Jia Lynn Yang (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good overview

Good overview of how the restrictive immigration laws came into being in the 1920's and then were reversed in the 1960's. Lots of thumbnail sketches of major figures. Perhaps too many. I found the ones on lesser known pols like James Davis and Pat McCarron (anti) and Emmanuel Cellar (pro) to be interesting but the ones on famous figures like Truman and LBJ to be superfluous.

The narration is pretty solid.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Valuable, but disappointing

I was frustrated by this book. I did learn a lot, but found that it spent too much time on trivia rather than on more important matters. It barely acknowledged the immigrants themselves - the “tide.” How was life like for immigrants at different stages of history? How did they adapt? How did the second generation experience it? How did those immigrants from different places perform so differently? While the US may have more immigrants now than at any time in the past century, it has fewer than Canada or Australia, so, a reference to that would have been useful.

1 person found this helpful