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Publisher's Summary

Long before COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd rocked America, Reihan Salam predicted our current unrest - and provided a blueprint for reuniting the country.

"The years to come may see a new populist revolt, driven by the resentments of working-class Americans of color.”  

For too long, liberals have suggested that only cruel, racist, or nativist bigots would want to restrict immigration. Anyone motivated by compassion and egalitarianism would choose open or nearly open borders - or so the argument goes. Now, Reihan Salam, the son of Bangladeshi immigrants, turns this argument on its head.

In this deeply researched but also deeply personal book, Salam shows why uncontrolled immigration is bad for everyone, including people like his family. Our current system has intensified the isolation of our native poor and risks ghettoizing the children of poor immigrants. It ignores the challenges posed by the declining demand for less-skilled labor, even as it exacerbates ethnic inequality and deepens our political divides.

If we continue on our current course, in which immigration policy serves wealthy insiders who profit from cheap labor, and cosmopolitan extremists attack the legitimacy of borders, the rise of a new ethnic underclass is inevitable. Even more so than now, class politics will be ethnic politics, and national unity will be impossible.

Salam offers a solution, if we have the courage to break with the past and craft an immigration policy that serves our long-term national interests. Rejecting both militant multiculturalism and white identity politics, he argues that limiting total immigration and favoring skilled immigrants will combat rising inequality, balance diversity with assimilation, and foster a new nationalism that puts the interests of all Americans - native-born and foreign-born - first.

©2018 Reihan Salam (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Tackling a complex and emotional subject with thoughtfulness and charity, Salam has issued a clarion call to everyone who cares about the American nation and every person who calls it home. Melting Pot or Civil War answers the question of how we can have an immigration policy that is beneficial, humane, and fair to everyone - from ninth-generation Americans to new immigrants.” (J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy)

“Should we lock people out of the middle class, or should we lock people out of the country? That is what is really being asked when we debate whether American immigration policy should be open or closed. Thankfully, Reihan Salam reveals this dichotomy to be a false choice. We can live in a middle class country that welcomes newcomers - if we can live with middle-of-the-road limits rather than absolutist extremes.” (Peter Thiel, author of Zero to One)

“For far too long, advocates of open immigration have dismissed their critics without even bothering to answer them. Reihan Salam should make that impossible. He offers a smart, informed, humane, and powerful case for an immigration policy that better serves all Americans. This is essential reading for understanding our country and its future.” (Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs and author of The Fractured Republic

What listeners say about Melting Pot or Civil War?

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A wonderful ideas based conversation

How do we get more of these conversations into the mainstream ... cable TV, talk radio, etc.

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thumbs up

awesome and intelligent. I know I will be reading it over and over. I love his perspective and ideas

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thumbs up

awesome and intelligent. I know I will be reading it over and over. I love his perspective and ideas

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Excellent overview of a more nuanced immigration policy

I really enjoyed this book. It's a fairly light read, definitely aimed at a general audience, but the author makes many persuasive, moderate arguments that are needed now more than ever, at a time when 10 Democratic candidates all raised their hands for the prospect of providing Medicare-for-all style benefits to illegal immigrants, which is as open borders as it gets. The author focuses on the cultural arguments, which are much more persuasive than the distractions about crime and jobs pursued by our president. Highly recommend.

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Bravo!

Mr. Salaam gives a well-balanced, even-handed argument in the immigration debate. His narration style is quick, yet thoughtful. I would recommend this audio book to anyone.

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Excellent book for factual information

Disappointed with lack of any concern for the impact of immigration on the American citizens who are unemployed the homeless & veterans not to mention drug addicts which clearly should have some priority. No mention on how to handle the impact of immigration on education either

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Compelling case for immigration compromise

Writing about an intensely polarized topic, Salam makes a compelling case for common-sense compromises. Eye opening and readable.

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  • 10-15-18

exceptional

reihan salam is the voice we need in this debate; methodical, empirical, empathetic and very rational.