What is Mark Wyman's argument in his book: Round-Trip To America: The Immigrants Return to Europe, 1880-1930?

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ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mark Wyman's book Round-Trip to America: The Immigrants Return to Europe takes a look at an idea that is overlooked by most history books--that about 1/3 of European immigrants to the United States in the beginning of the 1900's chose to "go back home" after getting here.  That certainly goes against the popular idea of America being the land of opportunity that the Statue of Liberty promised.

The book focuses on the reasons why Wyman believes these people chose to leave.  Here are a few examples:

  • They didn't like the strict "monochromatic" use of time in America, which was dictated at work by whistles and time clocks.
  • They didn't like the prejudices the faced, depending on their country or origin,
  • They missed there families back home,
  • They didn't enjoy the process of giving up their "home" culture to become Americanized.
  • They didn't like organized labor and their standing in that system.

The most interesting one, in my opinion, is the fact that many of the immigrants didn't have any real intention of staying in the first place.  Many people came to earn money to go back home with, or to have experiences and learn skills that they could then utilize in their home countries. 

I am attaching a link that may help...it's not about the book specifically, but it does talk about the forces at work in the immigration process.

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