Making It in America
A Sourcebook on Eminent Ethnic Americans
by Elliott R. Barkan
May 2001, 448pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-57607-098-7
$96, £74, 84€, A132
eBook Available: 978-1-57607-529-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Outstanding ethnic Americans are featured in this parade of our best and brightest citizens. They range from Philip Ahn (Korean American) to Carmen Zapata (Mexican Argentinean American) and embrace the whole of our history.

This collection of over 400 biographies of eminent ethnic Americans celebrates a wide array of inspiring individuals and their contributions to U.S. history.

The stories of these 400 eminent ethnic Americans are a testimony to the enduring power of the American dream. These men and women, from 90 different ethnic groups, certainly faced unequal access to opportunities. Yet they all became renowned artists, writers, political and religious leaders, scientists, and athletes. Kahlil Gibran, Daniel Inouye, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Thurgood Marshall, Madeleine Albright, and many others are living proof that the land of opportunity sometimes lives up to its name.

Alongside these success stories, as historian Elliot R. Barkan notes in his introduction to this volume, there have been many failures and many immigrants who did not stay in the United States. Nevertheless, the stories of these trailblazers, visionaries, and champions portray the breadth of possibilities, from organizing a nascent community to winning the Nobel prize. They also provide irrefutable evidence that no single generation and no single cultural heritage can claim credit for what America is.


  • Chronicles the lives of 400 eminent ethnic Americans
  • Includes outstanding achievers in every field—the arts, politics, science, religion, and sports
  • Suggests both print and nonprint resources for further research following each entry
  • Indexed by both ethnicity and field/profession
Elliott R. Barkan is professor of American history and ethnic studies and is the book editor for the Journal of American Ethnic History.


"Covers a wide range of groups in a uniquely selective way and is suitable for high school through college collections."—Library Journal, August 1, 2001

"A welcome addition to collections in high school, junior college, college, and public libraries that seek to improve access to multicultural materials. . . . There really is no other one volume work that provides this kind of broad coverage."—Booklist, August 20, 2001

"Covers a wide range of groups in a uniquely selective way and is suitable for high school through college collections."—Library Journal, August 1, 2001

"Best read as a representative sample of the nation's multicultural heritage. While most names will be familiar to readers, the book's strength lies in its descriptions of the many lesser-known individuals who worked tirelessly to improve their communities and whose contributions are no less vital than those made by the nationally renowned. Recommended for lower division undergraduates and general readers."—Choice, October 1, 2001
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