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The Passport in America: The History of a Document [Format Kindle]

Craig Robertson

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Cleverly uses the history of the American passport as a means to plumb the meanings of identity and identification as the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth .Theoretically grounded and engagingly written it will appeal to scholars interested in the history of national border controls and the transnational movement of people, as well as those interested in questions surrounding the intersection of state power, citizenship, and modernity. (American Historical Review)

Robertson's superb book combines serious scholarship and an easily accessible narrative....It displays the great immigration themes in U.S. history--identity, sovereignty, membership, national security, privacy, federalism, bi-national communities, and the attempts of overwhelmed government officials to enforce the law--through the lens of the humble passport. (Donald Kerwin, International Migration Review)

Provocative... (The New York Times)

Robertson accomplishes a surprising amount with a seemingly dusty subject in this far-reaching social history. (Booklist)

Robertson takes fascinating excursions into the history of currency, voting, immigration, tourism and even filing methods . . . The Passport in America is compelling reading. (The Wilson Quarterly)

Présentation de l'éditeur

In today's world of constant identification checks, it's difficult to recall that there was ever a time when "proof of identity" was not a part of everyday life. And as anyone knows who has ever lost a passport, or let one expire on the eve of international travel, the passport has become an indispensable document. But how and why did this form of identification take on such a crucial role?
In the first history of the passport in the United States, Craig Robertson offers an illuminating account of how this document, above all others, came to be considered a reliable answer to the question: who are you? Historically, the passport originated as an official letter of introduction addressed to foreign governments on behalf of American travelers, but as Robertson shows, it became entangled in contemporary negotiations over citizenship and other forms of identity documentation. Prior to World War I, passports were not required to cross American borders, and while some people struggled to understand how a passport could accurately identify a person, others took advantage of this new document to advance claims for citizenship. From the strategic use of passport applications by freed slaves and a campaign to allow married women to get passports in their maiden names, to the "passport nuisance" of the 1920s and the contested addition of photographs and other identification technologies on the passport, Robertson sheds new light on issues of individual and national identity in modern U.S. history.
In this age of heightened security, especially at international borders, Robertson's The Passport in America provides anyone interested in questions of identification and surveillance with a richly detailed, and often surprising, history of this uniquely important document.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1770 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 353 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0199733422
  • Editeur : Oxford University Press (4 juin 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003Y3BF2C
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°573.987 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires en ligne

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Amazon.com: 3.3 étoiles sur 5  3 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Kind of a slog but still a fascinating subject 5 novembre 2012
Par J. Tant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Bought the Kindle version...publisher, thanks for supporting Kindle!

I'm still about halfway through this. It's a slow read and not a very sexy topic, but it's still interesting. For example, I hadn't known that even up until relatively recently, women didn't usually have individual passports. Instead there was a kind of family passport with a group photo (why would a respectable woman be traveling without her husband...?). Even the idea of a passport being evidence of identity is a fairly new concept.

Then there is some discussion of class, with the upper classes viewing the idea of proving oneself to be a citizen as insulting. How dare some government worker not accept the word of a gentleman?! Even the customs officials disputed the need for such a thing, fancying themselves experts at just *knowing* if a fellow was telling the truth or not.

All in all, it's an interesting story about how the passport has evolved in America. Four stars, would be more but as I said, the writing style makes it a slow read.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Thorough, but tedious 1 janvier 2013
Par A. Jones - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Half the pages are footnotes! This book is a dissertation on the history of the US passport, and in that sense the book is absolutely what it claims to be.

However, if you aren't really interested in how every Secretary of State handled passport applications thru the Second World War, you may find that the author exhausts the subject pretty early.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A comphrensive examination of the early history of the passport 7 juillet 2011
Par Darryl R. Morris - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Craig Robertson, a professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern, provides a comprehensive history of the passport in the United States, starting from its initial use in the late 18th century. The book is divided into two parts, on the assembly of the passport (including the document itself, the applicant's name, signature, physical description and, later, his photograph), and the use of the passport as its primary role changed, from a letter of introduction to foreign governments for travelers, to an essential form of identification in the early 20th century, particularly for immigrants wishing to travel to or establish residency in the US. I was interested to learn that married women did not routinely receive their own passports until the women's suffrage movement took place, as respectable women always traveled in the presence of their husbands, whose passport photograph included their wives and children; and that the upper and middle classes resented having to use passports as a form of identification, as many felt that this document was most appropriate to keep anarchists, non-white immigrants and other undesirables from entering the US and western European countries.

The book includes several interesting personal stories, including the one that opens the book about a Danish man who was encouraged to shave off his Kaiser Wilhelm mustache upon entering Germany, and then was denied entry to the US after his clean shaven face did not match his passport photo. However, I found most of the book to be a bit dry and academic, and there was almost no discussion or analysis about the history and use of the passport after the 1920s, which would have made this a more interesting book for me.
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