The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of Ameri

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$20.00  $18.60
Scribner Book Company
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.3 X 1.1 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author
Daniel Okrent was the first public editor of The New York Times, editor-at-large of Time, Inc., and managing editor of Life magazine. He worked in book publishing as an editor at Knopf and Viking, and was editor-in-chief of general books at Harcourt Brace. He was also a featured commentator on two Ken Burns series, and his books include Last Call, The Guarded Gate, and Great Fortune, which was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in history. He lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod with his wife, poet Rebecca Okrent.
"The story of this triumph of ignorance has been told before, but never more vividly than by Daniel Okrent. . . A rigorously historical work." --The Washington Post

"[An] often surprising history. . . . The Guarded Gate is reminiscent of Okrent's Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (2010) in its elegant . . . prose and its focus on the unlikely alliances that converged to effect political change." --The Boston Globe

"A frighteningly timely book about a particularly ugly period in American history, a bigotry-riddled chapter many thought was closed but that shows recent signs of reopening... One of the narrative's great strengths is the author's inclusion of dozens of minibiographies illuminating the backgrounds of the racist politicians and the promoters of phony eugenics 'research'... [A] revelatory and necessary historical account." --Kirkus Reviews

"[A] sweeping history." --The New Yorker

"Engrossing... this fascinating study vividly illuminates the many injustices that the pseudoscience of eugenics inflicted on so many would-be Americans." --Publishers Weekly

"A sobering, valuable contribution to discussions about immigration." --Booklist

"A steely-eyed look at America's eugenics movement." --Library Journal

"[A] detailed, compulsively readable account . . . a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the history of immigration in the United States--and how the past might be relevant to policy makers and citizens today." --BookPage
"What's so unsettling about Daniel Okrent's spellbinding history of a previous immigration controversy is how it resonates with today's debate. Insightful, unsparing, and totally absorbing, this book frames the discussion against a compelling historical backdrop that describes the gap between the American ideal and the American reality." --Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower and God Save Texas

"In The Guarded Gate, Daniel Okrent has again taken a largely forgotten epoch in American history and brilliantly brought it back to life. Written with a grace that any novelist would envy, Okrent's book tells the story of the immigration battles of the early twentieth century in a way that's both fascinating on its own terms, but also, alas, all-too-relevant to today's news." --Jeffrey Toobin, CNN, author of American Heiress

"Our two oceans have protected and insulated us, but they have also helped to incubate less attractive features. Daniel Okrent artfully and faithfully records our (earlier) dismal record on immigration and how those home-grown racist and xenophobic policies metastasized into exports with horrific worldwide consequences. This is a masterful, sobering, thoughtful, and necessary book." --Ken Burns

"The Guarded Gate delivers a timely history of anti-immigrant fever centered in the elite eugenics movement a century ago. In this masterful narrative, sprinkled with wit, Daniel Okrent shows how the lesser angels of our heritage 'depopulated Ellis Island as if by epidemic, ' leading to cycles of disgrace and reform." --Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63

"Daniel Okrent is a gifted social historian. In this powerful, fast-paced, and highly relevant chronicle of bad science and fearful prejudice, Okrent helps us understand how and why our country lost its way about a century ago. Read it so that history does not find new ways of repeating itself." --Evan Thomas, author of The War Lovers
"If you think we have reached peak stupidity -- that America's per capita quantity has never been higher -- there is solace, of sorts, in Daniel Okrent's guided tour through the immigration debate that was heading toward a nasty legislative conclusion a century ago." --George F. Will, The Washington Post
"Engrossing... It's a grim and sordid story, but Okrent is a companionable, witty, and judicious guide." --Commentary Magazine

"A vivid new book...jam-packed with appalling examples" of anti-immigrant passions "primarily targeted at Catholics and Jews..." --The New York Times Book Review