Defining Documents in American History: Immigration & Immigrant Communities Review

“Immigration matters—and in particular immigrant children's rights under ‘Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’ or DACA— are very much in the news in 2017. Although this new guide in the "Defining Documents in American History" series provides only basic information on that specific action, it does cover more substantially the contours of immigration and immigrant culture in the US, from the arrival of the Dutch in the 17th century to the 2016 Supreme Court decision in State of Texas v. United States, which removed Obama-era barriers to the deportation of undocumented immigrants. This collection of 31 primary-source documents (each supported by a critical essay written by a contributing scholar) is edited by historian Pula (Purdue Univ. North Central), a prolific scholar whose own work adds credibility to the compilation. Although the documents are important, the principal value of the volume is in the essays, which offer contextual information to help students understand the importance of the documents. The volume also includes a glossary, a list of web resources, and a bibliography of useful readings. The intent of the work is to encourage the use of primary sources by high school and college students, and it succeeds admirably in that goal.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school through upper-level undergraduate students; general readers.”

“Due to the impact of immigration on the political discourse of the United States today, this is a timely resource. Editor James S. Pula, Professor of History at Purdue University, Northwest, and 29 other scholars have combined their talents to produce this latest volume in Salem Press’ Defining Documents in American History series. It features 31 documents organized into four categories: In Their Own Words: Immigrant Descriptions; Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric; Federal Legislation; and Executive and Judicial Actions. Among the writings included are the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1862, an excerpt from Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of the decision made by Justice Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the 2016 case State of Texas v. United States. Each of the primary sources is accompanied by analyses, biographical information about the author of the document, and bibliographical information for further research. The work concludes with a chronology that lists the documents in sequential order by year of publication, a list of web resources that only includes four URLs, a six-page bibliography, and an index.

…Overall, this would be a useful resource for public and undergraduate libraries.”