Lewis describes how Welsh immigrants brought their national churches, fraternal orders and societies, love of literature and music, and, most important, their own language. Yet unlike eastern and southern Europeans and the Irish, the Welsh – even with their "foreign" ways – encountered no apparent hostility from the Americans. Often within a single generation, Welsh cultural institutions would begin to fade and a new "Welsh American" identity developed.
True to the perspective of the Welsh themselves, Lewis's analysis adopts a transnational view of immigration, examining the maintenance of Welsh coal-mining culture in the United States and in Wales. By focusing on Welsh coal miners, Welsh Americans illuminates how Americanization occurred among a distinct group of skilled immigrants and demonstrates the diversity of the labor migrations to a rapidly industrializing America.
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