Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for A different mirror : a history of multicultural America
A different mirror : a history of multicultural America

1st ed.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown & Co., ©1993.
Physical Description:
ix, 508 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Different mirror -- "Tempest" in the wilderness : the racialization of savagery -- "Giddy multitude" : the hidden origins of slavery -- Toward the stony mountains : from removal to reservation -- No more peck o' corn : slavery and its discontents -- Emigrants from Erin : ethnicity and class within white America -- Foreigners in their native land : manifest destiny in the southwest -- Searching for gold mountain : strangers from a Pacific shore -- "Indian question" : from reservation to reorganization -- Pacific crossings : seeking the land of money trees -- Between "two endless days" : the continuous journey to the promised land -- El Norte : the borderland of Chicano America -- To the promised land : blacks in the urban north -- Through a glass darkly : toward the twenty-first century.
A presentation of American history from a multi-cultural perspective, focusing on a broader and comparative approach to enhance the possibility of understanding and appreciating America's racial and cultural diversity.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents http://www.gbv.de/dms/bowker/toc/9780316831116.pdf


Call Number
973.04 Takaki 1993
973.04 TAKAKI

On Order


Author Notes

Ronald Takaki is a Fellow of the Society of American Historians & a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include "Strangers from a Different Shore" & "A Different Mirror" &, most recently, "A Larger Memory".

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

YA-Takaki traces the economic and political history of Indians, African Americans, Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, Irish, and Jewish people in America, with considerable attention given to instances and consequences of racism. The narrative is laced with short quotations, cameos of personal experiences, and excerpts from folk music and literature. Well-known occurrences, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the Trail of Tears, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Japanese internment are included. Students may be surprised by some of the revelations, but will recognize a constant thread of rampant racism. The author concludes with a summary of today's changing economic climate and offers Rodney King's challenge to all of us to try to get along. Students will find this overview to be an accessible, cogent jumping-off place for American history and political science assignments, plus a guide to the myriad other sources identified in the notes.- Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a vibrantly rich, moving multicultural tapestry, Takaki ( Strangers from a Different Shore ) provides a fresh slant on American society by tracing the interwoven histories of Native Americans, Africans, Chinese, Japanese, Chicanos, Irish and Jewish immigrants. We see how 17th-century white planters, anxious to weaken an armed, politicized, white proletariat, enslaved an unarmed black workforce, with explosive consequences. We follow Chicano struggles as an integral part of America's westward expansion and learn how Jewish-black solidarity extends back to John Brown's uprising in 1856 against slavery in Kansas, an insurrection in which Jews participated. We see how oppression of the Irish (the first people the English called ``savages'') foreshadowed the subjugation of Native Americans. Interweaving voices from all points on the ethnic rainbow, Takaki, ethnic studies professor at UC Berkeley, has produced a brilliant revisionist history of America that is likely to become a classic of multicultural studies. Photos. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

A valuable survey of the American experience of several racial and ethnic minorities: readable popular history in the mode of Takaki's Strangers from a Different Shore (1989). Most multicultural histories focus on a single group and target a special-interest audience, but Takaki (Ethnic Studies/UC at Berkeley) opens the door wider by bringing together the viewpoints of Native Americas, Africans, Mexicans, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, and Jews, along with the changing attitudes of the ``civilized'' colonizing English and, later, WASP establishment. To the author, the ruling class incorrectly conceptualized America for centuries as a white country (``the lovely White,'' in Benjamin Franklin's words), only really confronting American racism after Hitler demonstrated where such ideology could lead. As in his Iron Cages (1979), Takaki avoids looking at groups in isolation: He stresses underlying cultural themes (the repeated debate among whites about whether racial ``inferiority'' is due to nature or nurture; the ruling class's strategy of appealing to race to thwart alliances of ``the giddy multitude'' of laborers and landless poor), as well as intergroup relations and mutual visions, both positive (a Mexican-Japanese labor alliance) and negative (the Irish--whose treatment by the English made them identify strongly with African-Americans--almost immediately adopted attitudes of racial superiority in the US). Along with standard historical sources, Takaki uses folk songs, poetry, and memoir to evoke the words and feelings of ordinary people. Condensing centuries of history into a chapter or two for each group unavoidably leads to oversimplification and occasionally familiar material; still, an excellent jumping-off place, with bibliographic notes pointing the way for further reading. (Photographs--not seen)

Booklist Review

Takaki, a Berkeley professor, has taken a controversial subject and gone behind it, fleshing out its history. America is multicultural, and every step of its development has involved incorporation of another people, either stolen from their homes, fleeing them, or looking for new opportunity. These chapters illustrate the immigrant experiences of Japanese, African, Irish, and Jewish Americans, as well as others. In his precisely written account, Takaki does not skirt controversy. He fully exposes the abuses suffered by Native Americans, African slaves, and all nationalities who have worked in the sweatshops, plantations, and construction projects that fueled the growth of the U.S. By simply showing the facts of multiculturalism, the historical coincidence of all our many minorities, the author eloquently shows the need for this viewpoint to be part of our education. Highly recommended for all history and social issues collections. ~--Angus Trimnell

Choice Review

Set in the context of Anglo thought and action, Takaki brilliantly traces the history of a multicultural US from the initial English settlements to the present. He focuses specifically on the experiences of seven groups: Native Americans, and Americans of African, Irish, Jewish, Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese ancestry. He also pays careful attention to gender, and contrasts the varied roles different ethnic women played in the migration process. Although Anglos denied citizenship to racial minorities and generally harrassed non-Anglo European immigrants, Takaki demonstrates that each group drew on its inner resources to resist oppression. If they adapted to American society, they also profoundly changed that society in the process. The framework is more metaphorical than analytical and each group's treatment is somewhat eclectic, but Takaki effectively demonstrates the centrality of race and ethnicity to the American experience as well as the importance of a multicultural approach to understand that history. Very well written and researched, this is a powerful story that is highly recommended for all audiences. J. Borchert; Cleveland State University

Library Journal Review

In his new work, Takaki ( Strangers from a Different Shore , LJ 7/89; Iron Cages , LJ 3/1/80) calls for ``a more inclusive and accurate history of all the peoples of America.'' But the book is limited to accounts of Native Americans, Africans, Irish, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, and Eastern European Jews, prefaced with a discussion of English settlers in the 17th century. Even within these limits, this book is not the ``story of multidimensional ethnic interaction'' that the author desires. Beyond victimization, few common themes emerge. Still, the book is useful, notwithstanding the author's sometimes questionable generalizations, oversimplifications, and fuzzy chronology. Not even seasoned historians will be knowledgeable about all the groups included. Takaki fails to show us how to reunite American history, but he provides in one volume a very readable version of some lesser-known parts. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/93.-- Robert W. Frizzell, Hendrix Coll . Lib . , Conway, Ark. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Author's Notep. v
1 A Different Mirrorp. 1
Part 1 Boundlessness
Before Columbus: Vinlandp. 21
2 The "Tempest" in the Wilderness: The Racialization of Savageryp. 24
Shakespeare's Dream about Americap. 25
A World Turned Upside Downp. 44
3 The "Giddy Multitude": The Hidden Origins of Slaveryp. 51
A View from the Cabins: White and Black Laborers in Early Virginiap. 52
"English and Negroes in Armes"p. 61
The Wolf by the Earsp. 68
Part 2 Borders
Prospero Unbound: The Market Revolutionp. 79
4 Toward the Stony Mountains: From Removal to Reservationp. 84
Andrew Jackson: Symbol for an Agep. 84
The Land-Allotment Strategy: The Choctaw Experiencep. 88
The Treaty Strategy: The Cherokees' Trail of Tearsp. 93
Where the Buffalo No Longer Roamp. 98
5 No More Peck o' Corn: Slavery and Its Discontentsp. 106
Racial Borders in the Free Statesp. 107
Was Sambo Real?p. 110
Slave Son, White Fatherp. 122
Black Nationalism: Nostalgia in the Nigerp. 126
"Tell Linkum Dat We Wants Land"p. 131
6 Emigrants from Erin: Ethnicity and Class within White Americap. 139
The Irish Exodusp. 139
An "Immortal Irish Brigade" of Workersp. 146
The Irish Maid in Americap. 154
The Irish "Ethnic" Strategyp. 160
7 Foreigners in Their Native Land: Manifest Destiny in the Southwestp. 166
"In the Hands of an Enterprising People"p. 166
"Occupied" Mexicop. 177
The Making of a Mexican Proletariatp. 184
8 Searching for Gold Mountain: Strangers from a Pacific Shorep. 191
Pioneers from Asiap. 192
Chinese Calibans: The Borders of Exclusionp. 204
Twice a Minority: Chinese Women in Americap. 209
A Colony of "Bachelors"p. 215
Part 3 Distances
The End of the Frontierp. 225
9 The "Indian Question": From Reservation to Reorganizationp. 228
Wounded Knee: The Significance of the Frontier in Indian Historyp. 228
The Father of the Reservation Systemp. 231
Allotment and Assimilationp. 234
The Indian New Deal: The Remaking of Native Americap. 238
10 Pacific Crossings: Seeking the Land of Money Treesp. 246
Picture Brides in Americap. 247
Tears in the Canefieldsp. 251
Transforming the Land: From Deserts to Farmsp. 266
11 Between "Two Endless Days": The Continuous Journey to the Promised Landp. 277
Exodus from the Palep. 277
A Shtetl in Americap. 283
In the Sweatshops: An Army of Garment Workersp. 288
Daughters of the Colonyp. 293
Up from Greenhorns: Crossing Delancey Streetp. 298
12 El Norte: The Borderland of Chicano Americap. 311
The Crossingp. 312
A Reserve Army of Chicano Laborp. 317
The Internal Borders of Exclusionp. 326
The Barrio: Community in the Colonyp. 334
13 To the Promised Land: Blacks in the Urban Northp. 340
The Black Exodusp. 341
The Urban Cruciblep. 347
Yearning for Blackness in Urban Americap. 355
"But a Few Pegs to Fall": The Great Depressionp. 366
Part 4 Crossings
The Ashes at Dachaup. 373
14 Through a Glass Darkly: Toward the Twenty-first Centuryp. 378
A War for Democracy: Fighting as One Peoplep. 378
America's Dilemmap. 399
A Note of Appreciationp. 429
Notesp. 430
Indexp. 495
About the Authorp. 508