Coming to Miami: A Social History

Melanie Shell-Weiss

Details: 352 pages    6.125 x 9.25
Cloth: $39.95   ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-3296-2   
Pubdate: 2/1/2009
Series: Sunbelt Studies
Review(s): 6 available

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"Miami deserves a total urban history, and Melanie Shell-Weiss is clearly the scholar the city has been waiting for. Coming to Miami is, by far, the best book ever written on the social history of Miami, still a very poorly understood and under-researched major metropolis."--Alex Lichtenstein, Rice University

"Bringing together the stories of Jewish immigrant pioneers, African American migrants, Bahamian immigrants, Cuban refugees, Haitian immigrants, and others, Shell-Weiss has given us not only a glimpse of Miami's past, but also of America's future."--Elizabeth Clifford, Towson University

Miami is the fifth largest urban area in the United States, yet it is a city barely one hundred years old. Originally a small southern town, its population and character have been transformed by successive waves of immigrants.

Beginning with the West Indian and Jewish populations who arrived shortly after the city's founding through the Bahamian, Cuban, Haitian, and other Latino groups who immigrated en masse in the second half of the century, Melanie Shell-Weiss skillfully interweaves the experiences of Miami's diverse communities into a compelling whole. She not only examines issues of gender, race, and cultural identity but also pays close attention to labor, economics, and working-class organization and activism, all of which played a role in shaping and reshaping the city into America's premier polyglot.

From pineapple groves to Cuban exiles to South Beach nightclubs, this impeccably researched and lucidly written book reveals much about the Magic City's multicultural diversity.

Melanie Shell-Weiss is visiting assistant professor of history at Johns Hopkins University.


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