An Immigrant’s Manifesto
An impassioned defence of global immigration from the acclaimed author of Maximum City
An impassioned defence of global immigration from the acclaimed author of Maximum City.
Drawing on his family’s own experience emigrating from India to Britain and America, and years of reporting around the world, Suketu Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. The West, he argues, is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. He juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of labourers, nannies and others, from Dubai to New York, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous.
This Land is Our Land also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality on large swathes of the world. When today’s immigrants are asked, ‘Why are you here?’, they can justly respond, ‘We are here because you were there.’ And now that they are here, as Mehta demonstrates, immigrants bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish.
Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, This Land Is Our Land is a timely and necessary intervention, and literary polemic of the highest order.
“Written 'in sorrow and anger', this is a brilliant and urgently necessary book, eloquently making the case against bigotry and for all of us migrants – what we are not, who we are, and why we deserve to be welcomed, not feared.”
“A meticulously researched and deeply felt corrective to the public narrative of who today’s migrants are, why they are coming, and what economic and historical forces have propelled them from their homes into faraway lands... This Land Is Our Land reads like an impassioned survey course on migration, laying bare the origins of mass migration in searing clarity... well argued, cathartic and abundantly sourced.”
Lauren Markham, The New York Times Book Review
“A powerful, passionate, angry, and hopeful cry for sanity and justice by one of our finest writers. Mehta's heart-felt book is a much-needed and potent antidote to the anti-migrant rhetoric that has grown so threateningly loud of late. Let them come!”
“There are many mic-drop moments and eminently quotable lines... [This Land Is Our Land] is a blistering argument that earns its place in this emotional debate.”
Bilal Qureshi, Wall Street Journal
“Suketu Mehta has written a burning indictment of anti-immigrant hypocrisy ... Rousing and immensely readable, it is an anthem for all of us.”
“Mehta’s book is a brilliant, deliberately political rebuff to the increasingly popular view that immigrants are a problem... It’s a very powerful book, but it also has a wit about it, which makes it very attractive.”
Salman Rushdie, Guardian
“Mehta has written a compassionate and powerful plea on behalf of migrants that also reveals the deep forces that propel them on their journeys. He exposes the demeaning ways that migrants are treated around the world, and the very human aspirations that may lead them to accept this dehumanization. In so doing, he gives us a searing indictment of those, like Donald Trump, who do so much to make their plight even worse.”
“The must-read book for 2019. Suketu Mehta is one of our finest thinkers and writers on the subject of immigration. What begins as a journey that mixes just the right amount of humour, anger and bewilderment at the state of our nation, ends up with a surprising double-shot of hope. This is the rare book that is pragmatic and unsentimental, and yet oddly uplifting.”
“An intelligent, well-reasoned case for freedom of movement in an era of walls and fences.”
“Pulitzer Prize–finalist Mehta (The Secret Life of Cities) displays his flair for evocative storytelling in this passionate argument for migration... Every scene is a joy to read, and Mehta’s passion lights his prose throughout.”
“This heavily researched and passionately argued work deconstructs American misbeliefs about immigration... The result is a profound combination of disturbing, convincing, clear-eyed, and hopeful.”
“[This Land Is Our Land] is a book shaped by the nuances of borders: of who crosses them and why, who drew them and what that set into motion... As narrator, [Mehta] emerges as comprehensively analytical and trenchant, full of pointed epigrams.”
Gaiutra Bahadur, New Republic
“There are few literary voices today who explore the intricacies of human migration better than Suketu Mehta... Mehta delivers an emotional, timely polemic railing against this trend of fear, discrimination and hatred that has gripped so many countries, especially ours... Pulling from history, personal experiences and intimate profiles, Mehta examines the backlash to immigration, what’s behind it and why we have good reasons to be hopeful about the future.”
Sarojini Seupersad, BookPage
“This is a fiercely and well-told story by a patriotic American about the value and challenges of our most inspiring heroes: Our immigrants.”
Bob Kerrey, 35th Governor of Nebraska and former United States Senator from Nebraska
“A fearless and brutally honest look at the rise and inevitable fall of national borders and those who seek to enforce them. This Land is Our Land lays bare the structural inequalities forcing millions of migrants to flee their countries of origin, and persuasively contends that powerful nations have an obligation to welcome those they have uprooted.”
Becca Heller, Refugee Rights Lawyer and MacArthur Fellow
“[A] powerful analysis… Mehta finds hope.”
Barbara Kiser, Nature
“A plea from the heart for a radical re-evaluation of the West’s treatment of those on the move… Mehta does not pull any punches… [he] knows exactly how to get your attention…and how to have you squirming in your seat.”
Leo Schwartz, Televisor, *Books of the Year*