"A very good and insightful book which might more accurately be subtitled 'The 500-Year (thus far) unsuccessful battle to define an American as 'Someone whose ancestry is from west of the Urals and north of the Mediterranean'. (Originally the claimed criteria were even narrower.) Sadly, nothing you are reading in the recent headlines is in any way new."
From the first European contact with indigenous peoples to today's debate over immigration, the question of who is American has been at the heart of our national story. Ben Railton's insightful exploration of this question throughout our history will help readers understand the current debate over national identity and immigration.