The New Americans

Seven Families Journey to Another Country

“Masterfully evoking such diverse settings as a Palestinian wedding in Chicago, a raucous ball game in Guatemala City and a torpid migrant trailer camp in California, Martínez’s writing is clear-eyed and incisive—and sometimes heartbreaking and hilarious.” —Publishers Weekly Editor’s Pick

Spanning four continents and several years in the lives of seven immigrant families, The New Americans is at once the most globe-trotting and intimate introduction to the new American immigration. Emmy Award–winning journalist Rubén Martínez’s “powerful and perceptive chronicle” (Booklist) lyrically recounts the dramatic voyages and day-to-day experiences of a small group of families who were featured in the PBS documentary of the same name. They come from Mexico, Nigeria, Palestine, India, and the Dominican Republic, and wind up in Chicago, Montana, Silicon Valley, and the California badlands. Their stories—told with “enthralling” (Publishers Weekly) literary skill and illustrated with stunning portraits from award-winning photographer Joseph Rodriguez—paint a portrait of the new, multicultural America.

Martinez weaves his own family’s moving immigrant history into the book, and essays on the films of Indian American director Mira Nair, the contemporary corridos of Mexican border musicians Los Tigres del Norte, and other immigrant artists explore the ways the new immigrant culture is transforming the United States.


“Seven new immigrant families . . . all have their stories told with an impeccable eye. . . . A positive anthology of human determination and the capacity for change and growth.”
Midwest Book Review
“A map of exile in global times, designed from within.”
—Eduardo Galeano, Author of Upside Down
“Recommended for school, public, and academic libraries.”
Library Journal
“Martínez has penned five powerful and perceptive immigrant portraits . . . skillfully tying them together with essays on the emerging immigrant pop culture.”
“Martínez writes with moral clarity and razor-sharp wit.”
—Mike Davis
“Fresh, nuanced and insightful.. . . [A] thoughtful, readable contribution to the immigration debates.”
Houston Chronicle

Goodreads Reviews