This Land Is Our Land is the book on immigration that I wish I had had written. Suketu Mehta has no qualms about digging deep and laying it all out there for everyone to see: the truths, the stories, the cover ups, and also, the lies. As an immigrant myself, with an immigrant partner who comes from a very different part of the world than I do, and three US-born children, this is the type of narrative that I think everyone should be reading. And while this book does focus on the US, it also focuses on Europe, which I think is very important due to the rise of anti-immigrant voices, and populist leaders there. I appreciated the stories on Algeria, and the Algerian War, as I grew up in France and most of it is completely glossed over in history books there at school.
Suketu Mehta, born in India and immigrated to the US in his late teens, has spent many years researching and reporting on the topics of immigration and displacement, and This Land Is Our Land is chock full of important information, history, facts, and stories. The history may not always be what you have learnt at school or in the press, but it is the true history of colonialism, slavery, and the beginnings of what we see as immigration today. The stories illustrate and humanize all of the facts, and prove that immigration is not an “issue” as some would like to see it, but a result of centuries of damage inflicted by rich Western countries on other countries. This book also proves that immigration should be seen in a positive light rather than the negative one that the current administration is intent on making you believe.
There is so much information in this book, and the author skips through time and place in a way that could be confusing to some, but that I thought worked really well. I consider myself pretty well-read in terms of history and politics (worldwide), but I learnt a lot reading this book, especially about the long-standing Western big business and country-level tax evasion loopholes in developing nations, and the ripple effects it has on those countries for decades. While I feel like this book really should be read in depth by those who believe Trump and his cronies’ lies, I doubt they will unfortunately. But for those looking to find some solid facts to counter anti-immigration zealots, there is a lot of meat to chew on.
Thank you Suketu Mehta for writing this book, and to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy!