A 2019 NPR Staff Pick"Written 'in sorrow and anger, ' this is a brilliant and urgently necessary book, eloquently making the case against bigotry and for all of us migrants--what we are not, who we are, and why we deserve to be welcomed, not feared." --Salman Rushdie
A timely argument for why the United States and the West would benefit from accepting more immigrants There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and controversy than immigration. But do we really understand it? In This Land Is Our Land, the renowned author Suketu Mehta attacks the issue head-on. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the world, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. As he explains, the West is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. Mehta juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, nannies, and others, from Dubai to Queens, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. But Mehta also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality on large swaths of the world: When today's immigrants are asked, "Why are you here?" they can justly respond, "We are here because you were there." And now that they are here, as Mehta demonstrates, immigrants bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish. Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, This Land Is Our Land is a timely and necessary intervention, and a literary polemic of the highest order.
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- ISBN-13: 9780374276027
- ISBN-10: 0374276021
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publish Date: June 2019
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Page Count: 320
This Land Is Our Land
There are few literary voices today who explore the intricacies of human migration better than Suketu Mehta. It’s a subject he knows well—as a journalist, but also as an immigrant in the U.S. who has lived in cities all over the world and descends from a family of “mercantile wanderers.” To him, migration is just life.
But today, intense deliberation over immigration is a prevailing concern. All across the globe—but especially in Western countries, from Spain to the U.S. to the U.K.—countries are closing their borders to all refugees and immigrants, with devastating results. In his new book, This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto, Mehta delivers an emotional, timely polemic railing against this trend of fear, discrimination and hatred that has gripped so many countries, especially ours.
In a heroic effort to dispel racist, destructive myths surrounding immigration, Mehta travels from city to city speaking to people at places like Friendship Park at the Mexican-American border. He also visits other countries like Morocco and the United Arab Emirates to hear the heartbreaking stories of regular people trying to migrate for a better life.
With humanity and keen insight, Mehta explores why people are migrating with higher frequency and explains why immigrants throughout history have always elicited reactionary views and backlash. But most importantly, he explains why we should stop falling for the same hateful rhetoric over and over again. Drawing from the history of racism and colonialism, he makes a case for why refugees and migrants have a positive influence on society instead of a negative one. His simple answer to anyone who asks why immigrants are coming here is: We are here because you were there.
Pulling from history, personal experiences and intimate profiles, Mehta examines the backlash to immigration, what’s behind it and why we have good reasons to be hopeful about the future.