Uncle Sam's Family
Issues and Perspectives on American Demographic History
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This work introduces readers to the basics of demographic history, touching on issues of interest to anyone concerned with understanding how we have come to live as we do and what the future may bring. It also focuses directly on matters of birth, death, and migration. Uncle Sam's Family shows readers why historians, and others, have become interested in these topics, how they are studied, and what are some of the most intriguing recent findings. This is done in non-technical language, with a number of figures and tables designed and selected to make the material easy to understand.
The book also examines how fundamental changes in family patterns have occurred in response to declining birth rates, increased longevity, and levels of immigration. Of special interest here is a chart (Figure 10), to help students understand how their own lives and the experiences of their families relate to some of the major trends in American history.
The text ranges beyond traditional sources of information about population, showing what can be learned from novels, contemporary language, political struggles, and discussions about the nature of family life.
Robert V. Wells is Professor of History at Union College