Ronald Takaki’s “A Different Mirror” Book

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America is a book written by Ronald Takaki (published by Little, Brown and Company for the first time in 1993 and revised by Back Bay Books in 2008). The main idea is to describe the essence of multicultural America through the prism of the existing experiences, opportunities, and challenges among such communities as Native Americans, African Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, etc. It is not enough for the author to remind the reader about the history of the country but to underline that national contributions have multiple roots, including the roles of black soldiers or illegal immigrants. Takaki (2008) admits that “the study of diversity is essential for understanding how and why America became what Walt Whitman called a teeming nation of nations” (p. 5). Among a variety of topics like slavery origins, reservations, nationalism, and relationships with other countries, Takaki (2018) focuses on the importance of hope for individuals who became “free from the shadow of slavery” (p. 317). The author uses several characters with different backgrounds to share their stories with the reader and explain the worth of education, cooperation, support, and history.

There are many reasons for reading the offered book and the outcomes it might have on the modern reader. I believe that Takaki’s work is closely related to the problems in our present-day world and helps ordinary people take another step toward improving their lives. Today, not many individuals are ready to admit their mistakes or accept the truth that they could lack information, opportunities, or resources. A false admiration of personal powers or national richness challenges Americans in different ways. Therefore, Takaki’s book allows to analyze the country’s history from a new perspective and gain a better understanding of ordinary soldiers or refugees. The myth of white America has been forgotten, but it continues affecting millions of lives. Instead of creating a free and democratic country, the citizens make themselves weak and blind to deal with real problems. Therefore, I would recommend Takaki’s work to others because it is based on the country’s history and helps look at the United States as it is, not as it should be.


Takaki, R. (2008). A different mirror: A history of multicultural America. Back Bay Books.