From 1892 through 1924, the federal immigration station on Ellis Island processed twelve million immigrants to the United States. This "people's history"
eschews a strict chronology to tell that American landmark's story via the people who shaped, served, and passed through it: appointed commissioners; employees; and the men, women, and children at the mercy of its bureaucratic, often discriminatory processes. Many of the stories are only snippets discovered in diaries, ship manifests, and other documents. But for all their brevity they are knit deftly together to create this intriguing, emotional, and oh so American narrative of heartache and hope. (KG)