In an era when the relevance of the American Dream is in question, journalist Nick Kotz brings to life a classic example of the phenomenon from his own family. Appropriately, the origin of the Kallison family dream began with the patriarch, Nathan, in a shtetl in Imperial Russia. Jews were barely tolerated in Russia, and in the 1880s pogroms and Cossack raids made life tenuous. In 1890 seventeen year old Nathan emigrated, eventually joining an elder brother in Chicago. Here Nathan was able to utilize a skill he had developed in Russia—harness-making. He opened a harness shop in 1894, married a year later, and became an American citizen in 1896. Kotz claimed that “From the very first, Nathan believed that Americanization—in addition to hard work and saving money—was the key to success” (24).
Knopp, Anthony K. Review of The Harness Maker’s Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas, by Nick Kotz. Southwestern Historical Quarterly 118, no. 2 (2014): 234-235. doi:10.1353/swh.2014.0100.
Southwestern Historical Quarterly