A Different Mirror

A History of Multicultural America


By Ronald Takaki

Foreword by Clint Smith

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Ronald Takaki's beloved revisionist history of America, praised by Howard Zinn as "a bold and refreshing new approach to our national history," now featuring a foreword from Clint Smith, author of the award-winning #1 bestseller How the Word Is Passed.

Ronald Takaki's "brilliant revisionist history of America" (Publishers Weekly) is a landmark work of American history retells American history from the bottom up, through the lives of many minorities — Native Americans, African Americans, Jewish Americans, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, and others — who helped create this country's mighty economy and rich mosaic culture. 

A Different Mirror brilliantly illuminates our country's defining strengths as it reveals America as a nation peopled by the world. 

  • "A splendid achievement, a bold and refreshing new approach to our national history. The research is meticulous, the writing powerful and eloquent, with what can only be called an epic sweep across time and cultures." 
    Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
  • "Takaki's book is nothing less than an attempt to view all of American history from a multicultural perspective. It is a laudable effort — humane, well-informed, accessible, and often inclusive. It is clearly not intended to divide Americans but rather to teach them to value the nation's inescapable diversity." 
    New York Times Book Review
  • "One closes the book with a deepened sense of the centrality of ethnicity in the American past." 
    Washington Post
  • "An excellent place to start in understanding how this uniquely diverse country came to be and where it is headed."
    Christian Science Monitory
  • "A groundbreaker...It's fascinating to watch Takaki weave these multifaceted strands into a single narrative text." 
    San Francisco Chronicle
  • "While Takaki's subtitle is 'a history of multicultural America,' his book is also a manifesto for the future."
    New York Review of Books
  • "A Different Mirror advances a truly humane sense of American possibility." 
    Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

On Sale
Mar 7, 2023
Page Count
576 pages
Back Bay Books

Ronald Takaki

About the Author

Ronald Takaki (1939-2009) established the Ethnic Studies Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for thirty years. He was the author of six books, including Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans and Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II.

Learn more about this author