Skip to main content
Michigan State University

European American Studies Research Guide: New Books

New Books

All Michigan specific titles are listed under the Reference Tools tab.

After the Flood : Irish America, 1945-1960 / editors, James Silas Rogers, Matthew J. O'Brien.  Dublin ; Portland, OR : Irish Academic Press, 2009.  223pp.  Main Library E184.I6 A14 2009  : These essays examine diverse elements of the Irish American Experience in the fifteen years after World War II. It emphasises the transition through which the diaspora were moving with focus on social and political developments.

American Latvians : Politics of a Refugee Community / Ieva Zake.  New Brunswick : Transaction Publishers, c2010.  Main Library E184.L4 Z35 2010  : This book analyzes the political experience of a small and unique American ethnic group---American Latvians. This community was constituted by post-World War II political refugees, who fled Communism and arrived in the United States seeking safety and protection. For decades, they insisted on preserving their ethic identity and therefore did not call themselves Latvian Americans. Instead, they formed a distinctive double identity, that is, they blended into American society economically and socially, but refused to became assimilated culturally and politically. The book offers a detailed look into the life of this community of political refugees, which also provides a novel perspective on the Cold War as experienced by certain ethnic groups....From a theoretical point of view, the book makes two major contributions. First, it reasserts the need to understand the generalized category of "white Americans" or "white ethnics" with more nuance and attention to differences, and, second, it strengthens the so-called realist claim that refugees are not like other immigrants. In order to achieve these goals, the book provides compelling descriptions and interpretations of the most politically relevant moments in the experience of American Latvians in the period between the 1950s and the 1990s. Concretely, the book deals with topics such as the American Latvians' anti-communist activism, the impact of the hunt for Nazis on Latvian emigres, the Soviet Union's anti-emigre propaganda campaigns, and the exiled Latvians' involvement in the politics of national liberation in Latvia....The author strives to reveal the complexity of the refugee experience in the United States during the Cold War and its aftermath. Since such aspects of the life of ethnic groups in the United States have not been sufficiently studied, this book makes a substantial contribution to a fuller understanding of American immigration history and sociology of ethnic groups. It is well written, expertly organized, and will be of interest to a large readership at many levels of academia.

Belgians in Michigan / Bernard A. Cook.  East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, [2007], ©2007.  110pp.  F575.B2 C66 2007 : At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Michigan was home to the second-largest Belgian population in the United States, and Detroit had one of the largest Belgian populations in the nation. Although immigration declined after World War I, the Belgian- American community is still prominent in the state. Political, religious, and economic conditions, including a nineteenth- century economic depression, helped motivate the move to America. Belgians brought with them the ability and willingness to innovate, as well as a tradition of hard work and devotion. The "Gazette van Detroit," a Flemish-language newspaper first printed in Detroit in 1914, continues to be produced and distributed to subscribers throughout the United States and overseas. Belgian-Americans continue to incorporate traditional values with newfound American values, enabling them to forever preserve their heritage.

Beyond the American Pale : the Irish in the West, 1845-1910 / David M. Emmons. Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, c2010.  472pp.  Main Library  F596.3.I6 E48 2010 : Beyond the American Pale: The Irish in the West 1845-1910 is a thoughtful, in-depth historical discussion of the role that (overwhelmingly Catholic) Irish Americans played on the Western frontier. Even though Irish-American immigration during the era is best known for being concentrated in the East and Midwest, Catholic Irish-Americans played a critical role out west, particularly when it came to doing the jobs that Protestant settlers often found difficult or dangerous - Irish-Americans contributed to building railroads, digging hard rocks, manning the army posts, and other taxing toil. From surveying patterns of Irish migration to scrutinizing the lasting effects of Protestant cultural suspicion and prejudice against their Catholic neighbors, Beyond the American Pale paints a vivid chronicle and portrait.

Contours of White Ethnicity : Popular Ethnography and the Making of Usable Pasts in Greek America / Yiorgos Anagnostou.  Athens [Ohio] : Ohio University Press, c2009. 284pp.  Main Library E184.G7 A53 2009  : Explores the construction of ethnic history and reveals how and why white ethnics selectively retain, rework, or reject their pasts. Challenging the tendency to portray Americans of European background as a uniform cultural category, the author demonstrates how a generalized view of American white ethnics misses the specific identity issues of particular groups as well as their internal differences....Interdisciplinary in scope, Contours of White Ethnicity uses the example of Greek America to illustrate how the immigrant past can be used to combat racism and be used to bring about solidarity between white ethnics and racial minorities. Illuminating the importance of the past in the construction of ethnic identities today, Anagnostou presents the politics of evoking the past to create community, affirm identity, and nourish reconnection with ancestral roots, then identifies the struggles to neutralize oppres sive pasts....Although it draws from the scholarship on a specific ethnic group, Contours of White Ethnicity exhibits a sophisticated, interdisciplinary methodology, which makes it of particular interest to scholars researching ethnicity and race in the United States and for those charting the directions of future research for white ethnicities.

Finns in the United States : a history of settlement, dissent, and integration / edited by Auvo Kostiainen.  East Lansing, Michigan : Michigan State University Press, [2014]  342pp.  Main Library E184.F5 F55 2014: Late-arriving immigrants during the Great Migration, Finns were, comparatively speaking, a relatively small immigrant group, with about 350,000 immigrants arriving prior to World War II. Nevertheless, because of their geographic concentration in the Upper Midwest in particular, their impact was pronounced. They differed from many other new immigrant groups in a number of ways, including the fact that theirs is not an Indo-European language, and many old-country cultural and social features reflect their geographic location in Europe, at the juncture of East and West. A fresh and up-to-date analysis of Finnish Americans, this insightful volume lays the groundwork for exploring this unique culture through a historical context, followed by an overview of the overall composition and settlement patterns of these newcomers. The authors investigate the vivid ethnic organizations Finns created, as well as the cultural life they sought to preserve and enhance while fitting into their new homeland. Also explored are the complex dimensions of Finnish-American political and religious life, as well as the exodus of many radical leftists to Soviet Karelia in the 1930s. Through the lens of multiculturalism, transnationalism, and whiteness studies, the authors of this volume present a rich portrait of this distinctive group.

A History of the Polish Americans / John J. Bukowczyk ; with a new introduction by the author.  New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction Publishers, c2008.  192pp.  Main Library E184.P7 B84 2008 : They came to find work, a decent place and way to live, to join family already settled, to marry, to escape persecution. So far the list of reasons why people from Poland came to the US seems to be fairly typical. But in the second generation many of the native born abandoned time-tested traditions and appropriated those of the assimilated American, sans hyphen. Bukowczyk not only describes the cultural change encountered by the emigrants but also the myths, symbols, values and beliefs that literally kept them alive. He also notes which traditions tended to stick and why, making this a model study of the organizations and institutions first and second generations created and maintained to keep some part of Polish emigrant culture active in the US.

Irish American Chronicle / primary consultant, Thomas Fleming ; essayist and consultant, Terry J. Golway ; contributing writers, Dan Brekke ... [et al.].  Lincolnwood, Ill. : Legacy Pub., Publications International, Ltd., 2009.  448pp.  Main Library E184.I6 F595 2009 : The Irish American Chronicle begins with an absorbing history of Ireland and chronicles the Irish in America from the Revolutionary War to the present. Hundreds of Irish Americans are profiled, from presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan to automaker Henry T. Ford, activist Mother Jones, and writer Anna Quindlen. In words and pictures, the Irish American Chronicle relates the complete Irish American experience, including these topics:
The Irish Democratic Party s rise to power, beginning with the story of Honest John Kelly and Tammany Hall.
Irish American movie stars such as Buster Keaton, Maureen O'Hara, James Cagney, and Grace Kelly.
The men of the Civil War's Irish Brigade and World War I's Fighting 69th.
The proud tradition of Notre Dame football.
Riverdance, Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, and the works of Eugene O Neill and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930 / Margaret Lynch-Brennan and Maureen O'Rourke Murphy.  Syracuse University Press, 2009.  232pp.  Main Library HD6072.2.U5 L96 2009 : "Bridget" was the Irish immigrant service girl who worked in American homes from the second half of the nineteenth century into the early years of the twentieth. She is widely known as a pop culture cliché: the young girl who wreaks havoc in middle-class American homes. Now, in the first book-length treatment of the topic, Margaret Lynch-Brennan tells the real story of such Irish domestic servants, often in their own words, providing a richly detailed portrait of their lives and experiences. Many of the socially marginalized Irish immigrant women of this era made their living in domestic service. In contrast to immigrant men, who might have lived in a community with their fellow Irish, these women lived and worked in close contact with American families. Lynch-Brennan reveals the essential role this unique relationship played in shaping the place of the Irish in America today. Such women were instrumental in making the Irish presence more acceptable to earlier established American groups. At the same time, it was through the experience of domestic service that many Irish were acculturated, as these women absorbed the middle-class values of their patrons and passed them on to their own children. Drawing on personal correspondence and other primary sources, Lynch-Brennan gives voice to these young Irish women and celebrates their untold contribution to the ethnic history of the
United States. In addition, recognizing the interest of scholars in contemporary domestic services, she devotes one chapter to comparing "Bridget's" experience to that of other ethnic women over time in domestic service in America.

Italian Americans : Bridges to Italy, Bonds to America / edited by Luciano J. Iorizzo and Ernest E. Rossi.  Youngstown, N.Y. : Tenio Press, c2010.  315pp.  Main Library  E184.I8 I73 2010 : In this volume attesting to the Italian American influence on the United States, nine professors of Italian American studies and a curator of an ethnic museum provide original essays on the Italian American experience, using the theme bridges to Italy and bonds to America. Drawing from a wide variety of primary sources, such as census tracts, local directories, diaries, voting records, newspaper accounts, personal interviews and scholarly and polemical books and articles, the authors show how Italian Americans adapted, through work, prejudice, strife, and advancement, to the social and political life in America while still retaining an element of Italianita. Italian Americans were key components in the early years of jazz history in the 1920s and 1930s. This study adds some balance to the development of jazz by tracing the bonds that Italian Americans formed with Black musicians and their pioneering use of the guitar and violin. An obvious example of the theme of this book is a study of Italian prisoners of World War II, who were transported to the United States and settled in a camp in Texas. The author shows how they helped farmers by their work and how artists among them helped decorate a local church with paintings and murals. A comparison of the Italian and Mexican immigration to the United States shows the similarity and differences of these two groups over time. An examination of the proposition that Mexicans are like Italians is examined in detail. A bibliographical study of the "southern question" in Italian history shows the explosive forces that erupted during and after Italian unification. Italians and Italian Americans are still debating whether this incorporation of the Italian south into the kingdom of Italy was detrimental to the people who lived there and contributed to the massive emigration that followed. This study is an outgrowth of a desire by scholars to honor the passing of Professor Salvatore Mondello, coauthor of the national bestseller The Italian Americans. One of a few historians of Italian American immigration who appeared on the scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s he approached the subject with enthusiasm, passion, and a relentless search for relevant material marked by digging into primary sources, rooting out individuals who had lived through the immigrant experience and pouring over the contemporary accounts found in newspapers and magazines. Sal was one of the first to see the important link between railroads and Italian American settlements. He saw that the rail lines accelerated the Italians' movement beyond the large cities in the coastal areas. They used the railroads as the means to establish new lives in many urban and rural communities across the country.

Italian immigrant radical culture : the idealism of the sovversivi in the United States, 1890-1940 / Marcella Bencivenni.  New York : New York University Press, c2011.  279pp.  Main Library E184.I8 B46 2011 : Maligned by modern media and often stereotyped, Italian Americans possess a vibrant, if largely forgotten, radical past. In Italian Immigrant Radical Culture, Marcella Bencivenni delves into the history of the sovversivi, a transnational generation of social rebels, and offers a fascinating portrait of their political struggle as well as their milieu, beliefs, and artistic creativity in the United States....As early as 1882, the sovversivi founded a socialist club in Brooklyn. Radical organizations then multiplied and spread across the country, from large urban cities to smaller industrial mining areas. By 1900, thirty official Italian sections of the Socialist Party along the East Coast and countless independent anarchist and revolutionary circles sprang up throughout the nation. Forming their own alternative press, institutions, and working class organizations, these groups created a vigorous movement and counterculture that constituted a significant part of the American Left until World War II....Italian Immigrant Radical Culture compellingly documents the wide spectrum of this oppositional culture and examines the many cultural and artistic forms it took, from newspapers to literature and poetry to theater and visual art. As the first cultural history of Italian American activism, it provides a richer understanding of the Italian immigrant experience while also deepening historical perceptions of radical politics and culture.

A new language, a new world : Italian immigrants in the United States, 1890-1945 / Nancy C. Carnevale. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c2009.  243pp.  Main Library  E184.I8 C29 2009 : An examination of Italian immigrants and their children in the early twentieth century, A New Language, A New World is the first full-length historical case study of one immigrant group's experience with language in America. Incorporating the interdisciplinary literature on language within a historical framework, Nancy C. Carnevale illustrates the complexity of the topic of language in American immigrant life. By looking at language from the perspectives of both immigrants and the dominant culture as well as their interaction, this book reveals the role of language in the formation of ethnic identity and the often coercive context within which immigrants must negotiate this process.

The Right Place at the Right Time : the Volga-Germans of Michigan's Thumb / by Bill Pickelhaupt. Fort Gratiot, MI : Flyblister Press, 2009. 329pp.   Main Library  F575.R85 P53 2009

Routledge History of Italian Americans.  / William J. Connell.   Routledge, 2017.  692pp.   On order.  : The Routledge History of Italian Americans weaves a narrative of the trials and triumphs of one of the nation’s largest ethnic groups. This history, comprising original essays by leading scholars and critics, addresses themes that include the Columbian legacy, immigration, the labor movement, discrimination, anarchism, Fascism, World War II patriotism, assimilation, gender identity and popular culture. This landmark volume offers a clear and accessible overview of work in the growing academic field of Italian American Studies. Rich illustrations bring the story to life, drawing out the aspects of Italian American history and culture that make this ethnic group essential to the American experience.

Ukrainians of Metropolitan Detroit / Nancy Karen Wichar. Charleston, SC : Arcadia Pub., c2009. 127pp.  Main Library  F574.D49 U58 2009 :Ukrainians have contributed to the diverse ethnic tapestry in Detroit since the arrival of the first Ukrainian immigrants in the late 1800s. Bringing their history, culture, and determination to achieve, they established a foundation for the resilient community that would continue to emerge during the decades to come. Ukrainian neighborhoods formed on both the east and west sides of the city. This is where they constructed the churches, schools, cultural centers, and financial institutions that would allow them to maintain their cherished ethnic identity while integrating into the American way of life. This book is a pictorial history of the people and events that created a community that would come to be known as the Ukrainians of metropolitan Detroit.

Subject Guide

Jon Harrison's picture
Jon Harrison
366 W. Circle Drive
E. Lansing, MI 48824
Website / Blog Page

Ask a Librarian

Michigan State University