The Uprooted

by Oscar Handlin. At lantic-Little, Brown, $4.00.
This stirringly written book is sociology treated in the manner of the poet—a distillation of the crucial experiences of the 35 million people who emigrated to the United States in the past century and a half. Professor Handlin’s story shatters the rosy myth that the newcomer to America has found it the Blessed Land; and in so doing he contributes a deeper insight into what has made America great. The promise of America has fulfilled itself in the lives of the immigrant’s children and descendants, but the crucial experiences of the nineteenth-century immigrant himself, usually a peasant , were alienation, suffering, and disillusionment. He found himself a foreigner, often despised and discriminated against. He had to wrestle desperately for a living in a more industrialized, more competitive economy. He lost life-giving ties with a clan and a cultural tradition, and watched his children growing away from him as they grew into Americans. Out of this background of terrific struggle and harrowing “apartness,” there emerged, in response, qualities of independence and enterprise which have played a significant part in toughening and vitalizing the fiber of this nation.