• Not "A Nation of Immigrants"

  • Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion
  • By: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Narrated by: Shaun Taylor-Corbett
  • Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)
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Not "A Nation of Immigrants"

By: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Narrated by: Shaun Taylor-Corbett
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Publisher's summary

Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States

Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US’s history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.

She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity - founded and built by immigrants - was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel good - but inaccurate - story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception.

While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.

©2021 Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (P)2021 Beacon Press
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

“Her thought-work and writing are both full-force with courage and wisdom. In the age of telling truth, she says, the US has yet to correct its narrative to acknowledge its settler-colonialist and imperialist past and present. This book should be taught in classrooms; readers will finish it changed.” (Booklist, starred review)

“Dunbar-Ortiz’s message is clear: uplifting narratives about the United States as a ‘nation of immigrants’ allow the country to hide from its history of colonialism, genocide, slavery, and racism.... [T]his thought-provoking account will prove insightful for all.” (Library Journal)

“Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz rightly argues that the United States is not ‘a nation of immigrants’ but, more accurately, a nation of colonizers. A must-read.” (Nick Estes (Lakota), author of Our History Is the Future

What listeners say about Not "A Nation of Immigrants"

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great if you can bear the narration

I listened to this through for the jarring history it portrays. Then I bought the book, I liked it so much.

But from the first chapter I found the narration cringeworthy as every quote is delivered in a fake voice. He attempt to mimick everyone, with a lilting voice for women, a mocking voice for many, and a strong voice for those he apparently approves of. We don't need to know what the narrator thinks of these people!

Nearly ruined a good thing. The book itself is excellent, I must say. It's a grim portrayal of American history, and a compelling one too.

Recommend! ... the printed book, that is.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Praise for Venezuelan dictatorship inexcusable

As a Native Hawaiian I appreciated the many important perspectives on settler-colonialism. I also really enjoyed the author’s previous book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. However, as I also have Venezuelan family suffering under the dictatorship as well as those forced into exile, the praise for the +20yr Chávez/Maduro regime is absolutely INEXCUSABLE.

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3 people found this helpful

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So much offered here; May listening make you want more

So much to learn here, no matter the listener’s previous education or experience. Intensive research makes for future interrogation of new info and analysis inevitable and easy, with the addition of the text version for notes. Deep respect and gratitude for this work.

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Essential

Keep an open mind. Value education. Respect history from all perspectives, and that is based on evidence. Learn something new. Take a good hard look at the narratives we like to tell ourselves to bolster structures of power that benefit colonizing systems of dominance and oppression. Change is possible and necessary, and we can make it happen.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Bias overshadows The Importance of the Message

The significance and importance of inarguable facts is nearly overwhelmed by the authors agenda, the authors bias. While the book may speak to the faithful, it is not likely change minds.

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superb work

this is a stinging indictment of the values portrayed by the United States of America. it's been reluctant throughout its history in living up to it's professed aspirations, and been grudgingly pulled into espoused egalitarian principles by the people it has tried to dispel most fervently, after relieving them of their property, dignity, and culture. this colonizing, parasitic philosophy has been invoked not only on indigenous peoples within local borders, but also projected universally, but smoothed over with Broad brush Strokes of imperialistic nostalgia. the United States will implode on itself unless it chooses acknowledge it's Imperial tendencies, and actually live up to the values it pretends to Champion.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Vital Historic Reading or Listening!

I Loved this! This Is The True History of The United States and Shows CLEARLY why American Christian Nationalists and American White Supremacists Do Not Want The True History Of The United States Officially Taught In Schools Because It Will COMPLETELY Destroy Their Totality Ridiculous Claims Of National Moral Greatness & National Ethical Decency and Goodness!

Historically The United States, With its Brutal Genocidal Triumphs Over So Many Millions Of Natives Humans and Equally Brutal Enslavement Over Millions of More Kidnapped and Exploited, Whipped, Branded, Raped, Gelded, Tortured, Innocent Human Beings Whose Children Were Sold Away From Them, Stripped Of Their Names, Culture, Language, History, Relations and then Segregated and Discriminated, and Colonized. The United States set the Standard That Inspired both The Nazi and Apartheid Governments of Germany and South Africa.

How The United States Has Told An Upside Down, False Narrative Of Their History To Justify Its Evil Actions how King George lll and Santa Anna and The Native-American NATIONS were Truly 'The GOOD GUYS' and It Was The Americans Who Were The Villains!

In its unbridled Capitalism and Lust for More and More Profits and Its Domestic Social Ethos and Its Foreign Policies Are And Have Been The Stuff Of Pure Evil! The Overthrowing Of Democratic Governments From Iran to Chile, the Supporting of Brutal Tyrants From The Congo, South Africa, Chile, Indonesia and Beyond, Its Waging Of Unjustifiable Wars In: Mexico, The Philippines, Vietnam, The Middle East, Central & South America, Cuba, Guatemala (and beyond); even militarily Training Its Murderous Puppets Here.

And All The While INSISTING That They, Not Only Are Currently The Greatest Nation In The World, Which Is Unhinged BS Enough, But That They Are The Greatest Nation In The History Of The World!

This Brilliant Book Exsposes That Claim to Be An ABSOLUTE LIE!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Truth vs. Narrative

This is one of the best books I’ve read. An in depth look at History that ties events together in context of the whole. Very good at connecting how what was going on in the Country contributed to who came hear and under what circumstances. Looks at the conditions that made these historical migrations happen and the effects. A must read if you want to know about the founding of this Country.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dense but informative

4 stars - It was really good

Trigger Warnings: racial slurs, antisemitism, colonialism, white surpremacy, genocide,

This was a very in depth look at immigration, settler colonialism, white supremacy, and the United States history of erasing its history. I learned a lot with this book but at the same time, it was very overwhelming with how much information was in this, especially in the audiobook format. I had to take this book in small chunks and even then I was overwhelmed by how many facts were fed to me. I wish I had read this in ebook format because I think more of the information presented in this book would have stuck, but that just means I will probably try to reread this in the future to fix that.

Overall, this was a very informative book about settler colonialism and immigration. My only issue, outside of the dense amount of info, was that the narrator would use different voices when quoting other people and it was very jaring. I wish he would have just used his normal voice for these quoted parts.

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Interesting thesis, well-written, poorly narrated

Author definitely has a point of view, but it's based on years of historical research; more of a feature than a bug. You just have to get past the distracting narration. Impersonations are weak and out of place in this type of non-fiction. The author's previous audio books used an excellent narrator.

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