Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States

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9780253214003: Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States

MexicanosA History of Mexicans in the United StatesManuel G. Gonzales

""A thoughtful, thorough survey of events in the history of Mexican-Americans, Chicanos, Mexicanos, Hispanos, and Latinos.... A lively narrative."" -- Kirkus Reviews

""Gonzales brings a bracing perspective to this epic story.... Exhaustive and destined for controversy."" -- Publishers Weekly

""The author is also especially good in weaving relevant historical developments in Mexico throughout the analysis.... [A] readable, engaging, and lively synthesis."" -- David G. Gutierrez, University of California, San Diego

""The best short introduction yet to the history of Mexicans in the U.S."" -- Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Mexicanos tells the rich and vibrant story of Mexicans in the United States. Emerging from the ruins of Aztec civilization and from centuries of Spanish contact with indigenous people, Mexican culture followed the Spanish colonial frontier northward and put its distinctive mark on what became the southwestern United States. Shaped by their Indian and Spanish ancestors, deeply influenced by Catholicism, and tempered by an often difficult existence, Mexicans continue to play an important role in U.S. society, even as the dominant Anglo culture strives to assimilate them. Thorough and balanced, this book makes a valuable contribution to the understanding of theMexican population of the United States, a growing minority who will be a vital presence in 21st-century America.

Manuel G. Gonzales is a professor of history at Diablo Valley College and coeditor (with Cynthia M. Gonzales) of En Aquel Entonces, forthcoming from Indiana University Press. His other publications include Andrea Costa and the Rise of Socialism in the Romagna and The Hispanic Elite of the Southwest.

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About the Author:

MANUEL G. GONZALES is a professor of history at Diablo Valley College. A specialist in both Modern Europe and the American Southwest, he has been teaching the history of Mexicans in the United States for the past twenty-five years. Dr. Gonzales has been a visiting professor of Chicano history in the Ethnic Studies department at the University of California, Berkeley. His publications include Andrea Costa and the Rise of Socialism in the Romagna and The Hispanic Elite of the Southwest

From Kirkus Reviews:

A thoughtful, thorough survey of events in the history of Mexican-Americans, Chicanos, Mexicanos, Hispanos, and Latinos. That so many terms should apply to the same people is the result, writes Gonzales (History/Diablo Valley Coll.), of that peoples quest over several generations for identity as an ethnic minority in the US. Since the 1960s Chicano has been a favored term yet one that is politically laden and not widely accepted in the mainstream. Neither, he believes, has Mexican historiography generally, because it has been both heavily politicized and largely confined academically to Chicano and ethnic studies departments. This ideological orientation, he writes, has worked against the complete acceptance of Chicano historians and other Chicano scholars by their colleagues in the academy. Gonzales suggests that Mexican is the better overarching term, especially because, in a broad survey taken in 1990, 62 percent of people of Mexican heritage born in this country preferred [it], as did 86 percent of the immigrant population. He also demonstrates by example that history need not be overtly politicized in order to score political points. He proceeds to unfold a lively narrative that begins with the Spanish conquest of Mexico and ends in the Gringolandia of the late 1990s. Gonzales has a sharp eye for historical ironies. In one section, for instance, he examines the role of the bandido, or bandit, in the mainstream cultures perception of Mexicans generally. Lawlessness, he writes, was not uniquely characteristic of the oppressed Mexican population; it was rampant on the frontier . . . . Indeed, some historians have seen a lack of respect for the law as an American tradition. Yet, he writes, accommodation by the conquered Mexican population was much more common than resistance; even though on the frontier they were despised as being racially inferior, most Mexicans struggled to be good citizens. That overlooked tradition, Gonzales notes, emerged in many ways: in the deeds, for instance, of Jos M. Lpez, an army sergeant who killed more enemy soldiers than any other American in World War II. And it continues today, he asserts, in the increased presence of Mexicans in all aspects of mainstream culture and particularly among the intelligentsia. Likely to be widely used in college history courses, Gonzaless book will be of much interest to general readers as well. (20 b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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