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For most of New York's early history, Ellis Island had been an obscure little island that barely held itself above high tide. Today the small island stands alongside Plymouth Rock in our nation's founding mythology as the place where many of our ancestors first touched American soil. "American Passage" captures a time and a place unparalleled in American immigration and history, and articulates the dramatic and bittersweet accounts of the immigrants, officials, interpreters, and social reformers who all played an important role in Ellis Island's chronicle. In this sweeping, often heart-wrenching epic, Vincent J. Cannato reveals that the history of Ellis Island is ultimately the story of what it means to be an American.