Leaving America
The New Expatriate Generation
by John R. Wennersten
November 2007, 200pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34506-7
$75, £58, 66€, A103
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eBook Available: 978-0-313-34507-4
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Offers a current expatriate viewpoint about what is both right and wrong with contemporary American culture.

Today more than ever, large numbers of Americans are leaving the United States. It is estimated that by the end of the decade, some 10 million of the brightest and most talented Americans, representing an estimated $136 billion in wages, will be living and working overseas. This emigration trend contradicts the internalized myth of America as the land of affluence, opportunity, and freedom. What is behind this trend? Wennersten argues that many people these days, from college students to retirees, are uncertain or ambivalent about what it means to be an American. For example, many are uncomfortable with that they believe America has come to represent to the rest of the world. At the same time, globalization and advances in technology have enabled the growth of a telecommuting work force whose members can live in one country and work in another, and this trend, among other factors, has encouraged a new generation of people to respond to the pull of global citizenship.

Leaving America is an important reexamination of one of the most central stories in the history of American culture—the story of the immigrant coming to the Promised Land. While millions still come to America and millions more still wish to do so, there is an important counterflow of emigration from America to distant parts of the planet. This book focuses on modern American expatriates as a significant and heretofore largely ignored counterpoint phenomenon every bit as central to understanding modern America as is the image of a nation of immigrants. The greatest irony in America today may well be that while argument and discord prevail in the edifice of American democracy about diversity, economic justice, equality, and the Iraq War, many of the most thoughtful citizens have already left the building.


"[A] thought-provoking book that fleshes in a compelling picture of Americans abroad....If you've ever considered taking off for places unknown--or were curious about why others might do so--Wennersten's book offers fascinating and reasoned insights into this complex issue."—The Hill Rag, January 1, 2008

"While the work doesn't tell you how to start a new life on the other side of the world, in historical perspective it does a nice job investigating why other people have done so, and where they ended up, etc. While this account might not initially seem practical to anyone looking at 'getting out', throughout the book there are tidbits of interest to most people considering an international move (per Central America, that Panama is currently the top country for U.S. civil service annuity check deposits, etc.). Given the publisher and academic take on the subject the book is not likely to show up on the wall of backpacker book exchanges in the Latin world, but it is an interesting read for those concerned with bigger issues."—Nicaragua Living, August 5, 2008

"Leaving America is a pioneering book on a vital topic. It offers insights into why millions of U.S. citizens have left their country to live and work abroad and how their expatriate experience is reshaping the meaning of American citizenship. Wennerstens book also raises crucial questions about why more and more Americans feel alienated by current American politics and popular culture."—Bernard Mergen, Professor Emeritus, George Washington University
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