|About the Book|
A fascinating albeit brief look at Ellis Island and the history of immigration.Some things that I learned:On January 1, 1892, a young girl (15) named Annie Moore was the first immigrant registered @ Ellis Island. Annie and her two younger brothers, ages 7 and 11, had spent 12 days crossing the Atlantic Ocean. In New York City, they were reunited with their parents, who had come to the US earlier.In the following decades, 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island.The immigrants who entered through Ellis Island came from everywhere. The largest numbers of immigrants to pass through Ellis Island were Italian. In total, 2,502,310 Italians entered. By 1908, there were 700,000 Italians living in New York City. At the time, the population of Rome, the capital of Italy, was only 500,000. The country that had the largest percentage of its people leave was Iceland -- 20% had left for North America by 1914.For those who got through Ellis Island, the island was called the Island of Hope, but it was the Island of Tears for those who could not enter (for various reasons including contagious diseases or if they would not be able to support themselves and thus become a burden on society).Among the millions of immigrants who poured through Ellis Island was a boy named Israel Baline. He grew up in poverty in Russia. When he was five years old, he watched his house burn to the ground in a pogrom. He and his parents and seven siblings soon escaped to New York City. On the rough streets of New Yorks Lower East Side, Israel became a singer and then began writing songs. He changed his name to IRVING BERLIN and soon wrote some of the most popular songs of the 20th century, including Alexanders Ragtime Band and his most famous song, God Bless America.The Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay has been called the Ellis Island of the West. More than one million immigrants from Asia passed through Agel Island between 1910 and 1940.People who came through Ellis Island to lead prominent lives in this country:Max Factor (Poland), Knute Rockne (Norway), Irving Berlin (Russia (now Belarus)), Edward G. Robinson (Romania), Rudolph Valentine (Italy), Frank Capra (Italy), Claudette Colbert (France), Bob Hope (England), Johnny Weissmuller (Austria-Hungary (now Romania)), and Isaac Asimov (Russia).