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One Mighty Irresistible Tide


Jia Lynn Yang
One Mighty and Irresistible Tide

Jia Lynn Yang is national editor at The New York Times. Before joining The Times in 2017, she was deputy national security editor at The Washington Post, where she was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Trump and Russia. Before becoming an editor, Jia Lynn wrote about business and economics at the Post and at Fortune magazine for over a decade. Jia Lynn’s family immigrated to the United States from Taiwan in the 1970s and was able to stay in the country thanks to the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Her book, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide is her effort to understand the people who fought to give her family a place in America.

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The idea of the United States as a nation of immigrants is at the core of the American narrative. But in 1924, Congress instituted a system of ethnic quotas so stringent that it choked off large-scale immigration for decades, sharply curtailing arrivals from southern and eastern Europe and outright banning those from nearly all of Asia. 

Jia Lynn Yang’s book, One Mighty Irresistible Tide, is a riveting narrative filled with a fascinating cast of characters, from the indefatigable congressman Emanuel Celler and senator Herbert Lehman to the bull-headed Nevada senator Pat McCarran, Jia Lynn Yang recounts how lawmakers, activists, and presidents from Truman through LBJ worked relentlessly to abolish the 1924 law.

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