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Why We Left: Untold Stories and Songs of America's First Immigrants
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6/28/2013 at 3:21:28 PM GMT
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Why We Left: Untold Stories and Songs of America's First Immigrants
Why We Left: Untold Stories and Songs of America's First Immigrants
By Joanna Brooks
University of Minnesota Press | 224 pages | 2013
ISBN 978-0-8166-8125-9 | jacketed cloth | $22.95

Joanna Brooks reveals the harsh realities behind seventeenth- and eighteenth-century working-class English emigration—and dismantles the idea that these immigrants were drawn to America as a land of opportunity. Brooks follows American folk ballads back across the Atlantic, uncovering an archaeology of the worldviews of America’s earliest immigrants and a haunting historical perspective on the ancestors we thought we knew.

"Why We Left draws creatively on early folk ballads of England and America to make a surprising, bold, and altogether brilliant contribution to our understanding of why people crossed the Atlantic to live in a strange new world. Haunting voices sing to us across the centuries a rich and disturbing ‘history from below.’" —Marcus Rediker, author of The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom

"Joanna Brooks compellingly recreates the lives of British peasants who came to the New World.  She traces their collective memories through the folk ballads sung by their descendants and collected diligently by scholars and revivalists. Riveting, harrowing, Why We Left will forever change the way we listen to ‘folk music.’" —Charles McGovern, William and Mary

Joanna Brooks is professor and chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University. She has authored or edited five books on early American literature, history, and culture, including American Lazarus: Religion and the Rise of African-American and Native American Literatures and Transatlantic Feminisms in the Age of Revolutions. She is also the author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith.

For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book's webpage:

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