Bandido: Oscar ""zeta"" Acosta And The Chicano Experience

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9780064385572: Bandido: Oscar

This is a searching examination of the life, work, and mysterious disappearance of the charismatic civil rights activist Oscar Zeta Acosta—a leading figure in the Chicano movement of the 1960s.

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From the Publisher:

This is a searching examination of the life, work, and mysterious disappearance of the charismatic civil rights activist Oscar Zeta Acosta-a leading figure in the Chicano movement of the 1960s.

"A deeply considered essay on the Chicano movement's worldly Aquinas.- A fine, learned homage." --Kirkus Reviews
"Ilan Stavans has written a valuable portrait of a self-destructive provocateur who is a seminal figure in Chicano/Latino history. Half Conradian hero, half mythological creature, O. Zeta Acosta is an existential Orpheus who courted darkness until he was swallowed by it." --Jaime Manrique
"Although Acosta's life was ridden with excessive drugs, sex, and alcohol, this does not belittle his attempts to further the Chicano movement. Through his books and his activism, he openly defied a society that considered him worthless. Through Stavans' writing, many Anglos as well as Chicanos can experience the power of such a character." --Texas Observer

Ilan Stavans teaches at Amherst College.

From Booklist:

If Cesar Chavez was the martyr of the Chicano civil rights movement, Acosta may be its imp, its overweight, schizophrenic Merry Prankster, its desaparecido since June_ 1974, when he vanished between Mazatlan, Mexico, and Southern California. In Bandido, Stavans (who ruminated about "life in the hyphen" in The Hispanic Condition ) offers an appreciation, not a biography, of Zeta Acosta as force of nature and a deeply troubled human being. Stavans approaches Acosta through his writingsAutobiography of a Brown Buffalo and The Revolt of the Cockroach People (both reissued by Random House in paperback in 1989) and unpublished work held by the University of California at Santa Barbara--and through interviews with relatives and friends. There is little detail about Zeta's work as a civil rights lawyer and political activist. Like many Acosta friends (including Hunter Thompson, who "borrowed" Zeta as the Samoan attorney in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Stavans doesn't always "like" his subject but, in a way, that may be the point: Bandido is a kaleidoscopic, impressionistic portrait of key aspects of a mythical figure's ambiguous realities. An interesting, though not essential, purchase. Mary Carroll

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