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Carl Bon Tempo interview, "Americans at the Gates: The United States and Refugees during the Cold War"
New Books Network
  • Marshall Poe, University of Iowa
  • Carl Bon Tempo
Document Type
Interview
Duration
01:02:40
Publication Date
2-12-2009
Abstract
My Midwestern high school was pretty typical. There were freaks, geeks, jocks, drama-types. Some were white. And some were black. All were recognizably "American." The only unusual thing about Wichita Southeast was the presence of a reasonably large number of Vietnamese. That's right, Vietnamese. We didn't know what to think of them. We didn't mingle with them nor they with us. They had their own classes in their own language. And they had come from someplace that we knew about from the news, or perhaps from a father who had served in "the War." In hindsight, Southeast wasn't that unusual in this regard. As Carl Bon Tempo shows in his engaging Americans at the Gates: The United States and Refugees during the Cold War (Princeton UP, 2008), communities throughout the U.S. were destination points for refugees from all over the world during the Cold War. Some of them fled war, as in the case of the Vietnamese. Others fled oppression, as in the case of the Cubans. Still others were opportunists. But all of them were being used by or using American power in a game that was deeply entangled in the U.S. confrontation with Communism. Look around. You'll see them, just as I did at Southeast. Now, as the Iraq war winds down (we hope), we'll see a new group of refugees coming to American produced by another kind of conflict, the war against terrorism. As he decides what to do with them, I hope Barack Obama reads this book to get the benefit of history. I hope you read it as well.
Keywords
  • 20th Century,
  • CIA,
  • Castro,
  • Cold War,
  • Communism,
  • Displaced Persons,
  • Exile,
  • Foriegn Policy,
  • Hungary,
  • Immigration,
  • Iraq War,
  • Migration,
  • Nationalism,
  • Race,
  • Refugees,
  • Socialism,
  • Soviet Union,
  • Vietnam War,
  • War
Rights
Copyright © 2009 New Books In History
Disciplines
Citation Information
Marshall Poe and Carl Bon Tempo. "Carl Bon Tempo interview, "Americans at the Gates: The United States and Refugees during the Cold War"" New Books Network (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/marshall_poe/194/