American Intolerance (Hardcover)

Our Dark History of Demonizing Immigrants

By Robert E. Bartholomew, Anja Reumschuessel

Prometheus Books, 9781633884489, 270pp.

Publication Date: October 23, 2018

List Price: 24.00*
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Description

This historical review of the US treatment of immigrants and minority groups documents the suspicion and persecution that often met newcomers and those perceived to be different.

Contrary to popular belief, the poor and huddled masses were never welcome in America. Though the engraving on the base of the Statue of Liberty makes that claim, history reveals a far less-welcoming message. This comprehensive survey of cultural and racial exclusion in the United States examines the legacy of hostility toward immigrants over two centuries.

The authors document abuses against Catholics in the early 19th century in response to the influx of German and Irish immigrants; hostility against Mexicans throughout the Southwest, where signs in bars and restaurants read, "No Dogs, No Negros, No Mexicans"; "yellow peril" fears leading to a ban on Chinese immigration for ten years; punitive measures against Native Americans traditions, which became punishable by fines and hard labor; the persecution of German Americans during World War I and Japanese Americans during World War II; the refusal to admit Jewish refugees of the Holocaust; and the ongoing legacy of mistreating African Americans from slavery to the injustices of the present day.

Though the authors note that the United States has accepted tens of millions of immigrants during its relatively short existence, its troubling history of persecution is often overlooked. President Donald Trump's targeting of Muslim and Mexican immigrants is just the most recent chapter in a long, sad history of social panics about "evil" foreigners who are made scapegoats due to their ethnicity or religious beliefs.


About the Author

Robert E. Bartholomew is the author of fourteen previous books, most recently A Colorful History of Popular Delusions (with Peter Hassall) and American Hauntings (with Joe Nickell). He has also published more than sixty articles in professional journals, including the British Medical Journal and the International Journal of Social Psychiatry. Bartholomew has been interviewed in the New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and on the History and Discovery channels. He is featured in an eight-part National Geographic series on UFOs. Bartholomew holds a PhD in medical sociology. He is a history instructor at Botany College, in Auckland, New Zealand.

Anja Reumschüssel is a freelance science journalist living in Hamburg, Germany. Her articles have been published in various German science and general-interest magazines, including GEO, National Geographic, and STERN. She recently published her book, Extremismus, about political and religious extremism in Germany.


Praise For American Intolerance: Our Dark History of Demonizing Immigrants

“Bartholomew and Reumschüssel capture America’s complicated and, more often than we would like to admit, dark relationship with immigration. Their dissection of our nation’s history of religious, ethnic, and racial fears is sobering. The times we live in make American Intolerance even more important for all of us to read.”

—Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum and author of There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration

“In this very important book, Bartholomew and Reumschüssel show us that Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim campaigns are part of the long history of ‘foreigner panics’—from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, to the anti-German hysteria of World War I, to the ‘repatriation’ of a million people to Mexico in the 1930s. It brings to light Americans’ competing urges to open or close the door to immigrants. But ultimately American Intolerance reminds us that, while predictable, these xenophobic spasms are the exception rather than the rule and are often followed by a recollection that, as a nation of immigrants, new Americans have always been our greatest strength.”

—Frank Bures, author of The Geography of Madness

“With a gripping and readable style, American Intolerance pulls no punches in revealing the harrowing of immigrants as a national pastime.”

—Dan Vergano, senior reporter, BuzzFeed News

"Timely reading for anyone concerned about recent changes in immigration policy and ramped-up white supremacy rhetoric and violence.”

—Foreword Reviews

“We Americans will never be able to resolve the problems of our present until we are able to honestly confront the horrors of our past. This includes the sordid history of our attitudes toward immigrants, especially when race is a factor. I know of no better introduction to this important topic than Bartholomew and Reumschüssel’s American Intolerance. Clear, accessible, and compulsively readable, it is an important read, especially at our present historical moment.”

—David Livingstone Smith, PhD, author of Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others