A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century

Viking. Aug. 2019. 400p. notes. index. ISBN 9780670785926. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781984877758. POL SCI
New York Times journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist DeParle (American Dream) delivers a remarkably creative, enlightening, and empathetic book about international migration’s personal and public impact. The author makes no pretense of objectivity, having lived with and learned from members of an extended Filipino family as they become part of global migration. The story revolves around Rosalie Portagana, who becomes a nurse and moves within a generation from a Manila shantytown to a suburban home near Galveston, TX. As DeParle weaves the account of Rosalie and her relatives, readers also become familiar with the broader patterns of international migration. In pursuit of low-wage jobs in the Middle East, East Asia, and North America, members of Rosalie’s family effectively commuted across parts of the world as computers enabled them to stay in touch and share disappointment, encouragement, and successes. DeParle describes the strength of people who migrate in hopes for a better life. But he also deftly contextualizes these human specifics within a broader, well-informed analysis of immigration’s history, benefits, and downsides, demonstrating his mastery of the subject.
VERDICT Readers interested in the human and historical aspects of immigration will find this book extremely useful and insightful.
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