Interweaving introspection with political commentaries, biography with history, The Promised Land (1912) brings to life the transformation of an East European Jewish immigrant into an American citizen. Mary Antin recounts "the process of uprooting, transportation, replanting, acclimitization, and development that took place in my own soul," and reveals the impact of a new culture and new standards of behavior on her family. A feeling of divisions—between Russia and America, Jews and Gentiles, Yiddish and English—ever-present in her narrative, is balanced by insights, amusing and serious, into ways to overcome them. In telling the story of one person, The Promised Land illuminates the lives of hundreds of thousands.
This Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition includes eighteen black-and-white photographs from the book's first edition and reprints for the first time Antin's essay "How I wrote The Promised Land."
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An extraordinary popular success when it was first published in 1912, The Promised Land is a classic account of the Jewish American immigrant experience. Mary Antin emigrated with her family from the
Eastern European town of Polotzk to Boston in 1894, when she was twelve years old. Preternaturally inquisitive, Antin was a provocative observer of the identity-altering contrasts between Old World and
New. Her narrative ? of universal appeal and rich in its depictions of both worlds ? captures a large-scale sociocultural landscape and paints a profound self-portrait of an iconoclast seeking to reconcile her
heritage with her newfound identity as an American citizen.
Mary Antin was born in June of 1881 in Polotzk, White Russia (what is now Belarus). She emigrated from Polotzk to Boston with her family in 1894, when she was thirteen. Her first book, describing her voyage from Russia to the United States, was published in 1899. "The Promised Land" was a bestseller when it was first published in 1912.
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