Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945

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9780195096484: Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945
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Twentieth-century Los Angeles has been the locus of one of the most profound and complex interactions between variant cultures in American history. Yet this study is among the first to examine the relationship between ethnicity and identity among the largest immigrant group to that city. By focusing on Mexican immigrants to Los Angeles from 1900 to 1945, George J. Sánchez explores the process by which temporary sojourners altered their orientation to that of permanent residents, thereby laying the foundation for a new Mexican-American culture. Analyzing not only formal programs aimed at these newcomers by the United States and Mexico, but also the world created by these immigrants through family networks, religious practice, musical entertainment, and work and consumption patterns, Sánchez uncovers the creative ways Mexicans adapted their culture to life in the United States. When a formal repatriation campaign pushed thousands to return to Mexico, those remaining in Los Angeles launched new campaigns to gain civil rights as ethnic Americans through labor unions and New Deal politics. The immigrant generation, therefore, laid the groundwork for the emerging Mexican-American identity of their children.

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About the Author:


George J. Sanchez in Associate Professor of History, University of Southern California.

Review:


"Becoming Mexican American makes a significant contribution to Chicano historiography through its examination of the dynamics of Mexican American life in Los Angeles....Sánchez should be praised for this important and carefully written book. It is a dynamic portrayal of the social and political transformation of Mexican immigrants into a well-defined Mexican American community in Los Angeles."--New Mexico Historical Review


"A fascinating and richly textured study of Chicanos in the urban setting of Los Angeles....It is...the best study available on the experiences of the Mexicans in Los Angeles, especially on their struggle for equality and justice."--ILWCH


"Monumental....Inviting reading....A consummate scholar and masterful storyteller, Sánchez rediscovers the missing threads and restores the vibrant colors in the fabric of Los Angeles."--Los Angeles Times


"A brilliant historical study of Hispanic asimilation, resistance, and self-reflection in Los Angeles."--Tikkun


"Becoming Mexican American is a remarkable chronicle of Mexican history and influence in the United States. Written with a compelling combination of heart and insight, this study rounds out and redefines the role of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Chicanos from our nation's past. In Becoming Mexican American George Sánchez has narrowed a mighty void in American history."--Xavier Becerra, Member of Congress, 30th District, California


"Indispensable for an understanding of the past, present and future of the American Southwest."--Julian Nava, California State University at Northridge


"Great book on the history of the Mexican-American community."--George Autobee, Community College of Denver


"Wonderful book--crosses many frontiers."--Professor Charles Shively, University of Massachusetts at Boston


"An excellent book!"--Paul L. Simon, Ph.D., Xavier University


"I enjoyed Professor Sanchez's book. It is well researched and interesting. I found it to be very accurate and suggestive of what can be done in the field of Chicano History."--Susan Green, University of Minnesota


"[An] excellent new history of the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles...[A]n engrossing, entertaining, and important study that will be discussed for years to come....Historians interested in urban communities, immigration, U.S.-Mexican relations, and the 'new Western history' should remember George Sánchez's Becoming Mexican American when handing out book awards this year."--The Historian


"Writing with great clarity about matters of great complexity, George Sánchez combines compelling stories of individuals with shrewd analyses of broad social patterns. Becoming Mexican American is an original and very instructive portrait of a crucial group in the population of the United States. Moreover, this book restores unity to the field of history, revealing the common concerns of historians who have specialized in immigration, ethnicity, gender, kinship, labor, education, religion, music, public policy, and urban life."--Patricia Nelson Limerick, University of Colorado at Boulder


"A compelling narrative, this volume traces with sensitivity and compassion the courageous journey whereby Mexican citizens used their own culture, religion, and family strengths to make a new and successful life in America while never losing sight of where they came from."--William Chafe, Duke University


"An excellent history of one of the city's oldest barrios. Exhaustive in its research and easy to read, Becoming Mexican American lays the groundwork for an analysis of present conditions of Mexican Americans. It will surely establish the author as a major interpreter of the Mexican experience in the United States."--Rodolfo Acuna, California State University, Northridge


"Adroitly argued, Becoming Mexican American is the most comprehensive study of Mexican Los Angeles to date. Blending economic, cultural, and social history within a well-defined narrative, Sánchez has crafted a work which will significantly influence the writing of Chicano history for decades to come."--Vicki L. Ruiz, The Claremont Graduate School


"Becoming Mexican American is a sumptuous book--informative, readable, and passionate. Here, at last, is the true successor to Carey McWilliams' North From Mexico. A brilliant voice from a new generation continues the saga."--Richard Rodriguez, author of Hunger of Memory


"[A] brilliant analysis of the creation of ethnic identity in the mexican immigrant community of Los Angeles. George J. Sanchez breaks new ground in ethnic studies."--Lynne M. Getz, Salem Press


"Sanchez sheds light on an important aspect of twentieth-century American social development and sharpens our understanding of the Mexican-American experience. He consistently provides thoughtful insights and provocative analysis that scholars will be addressing for many years."--Edward J. Escobar, Arizona State University


"Sanchez tells a compelling story and his discussion of immigration, family life, culture, and politics are solid and illuminating. [This book] is an important contribution to ethnic and urban history. his story is engaging, and his research is solid. This volume has an important place as a well-written account of the historical experiences of America's largest Mexican-origin community."--Ricardo Romo, American Historical Review


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