Reviews for A Nation of Nations

“The 21st century will be defined by seismic global immigration, remapping human interaction to the core, and the United States will remain the model for other nations to emulate. Tom Gjelten understands why, not only because he is a byproduct of immigration, but because he has been in the trenches—the inner cities, the rural landscapes, the contested borders‑‑where America is reborn on a daily basis. In this probing exploration, he explains, lucidly and with compassion, the extent to which the motto e pluribus unum is the engine of progress.”
— Ilan Stavans, editor of Becoming Americans: Immigrants Tell Their Stories from Jamestown to Today

“Tom Gjelten sings of a new America that bravely invites newcomers. A Nation of Nations would have pleased Whitman himself for its generosity, spirit and hope. This book is both smart and moving.”
— Min Jin Lee, author of Free Food for Millionaires

“An incisive look at immigration, assimilation, and national identity. . . . A timely, well‑informed entry into a national debate.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“A compelling case for multiculturalism, coupled with assimilation to the U.S. political culture of democracy and individualism, as the new American exceptionalism… A timely, measured, and sympathetic account of changing U.S. demographics within the past several decades.”

Library Journal 

“A Nation of Nations … builds through the accumulation of detail to a book of impressive heft. Gjelten excels as he documents the reality of each family. It is harder to say what this all means, but perhaps that is because we have not yet arrived at the answer. One has the sense, at the end of the book, that this experiment is still very much a work in progress.”

-New York Times

“In 1965 the percentage of immigrants in the United States was only 4.4%. Today, thanks in large part to the Immigration Act of 1965, it stands at 13%. This demographic shift has had profound effects, and in “A Nation of Nations,” National Public Radio correspondent Tom Gjelten brings these changes to life.”

Wall Street Journal

“Gjelten has produced a compelling and informative account of the impact of the 1965 reforms, one that is indispensable reading at a time when anti-immigrant demagoguery has again found its way onto the main stage of political discourse.”

Washington Post

“With careful reporting and a storyteller’s feel for narrative, [Gjelten] reconstructs the grand deal-making that yielded the law President Lyndon Johnson signed on New York’s Liberty Island. He also goes deep into the lives of a half-dozen immigrant families in Fairfax County, Virginia, describing how they doggedly go about creating the better future they were seeking in the United States, even when the country makes nothing easy for them.”

The New York Review of Books