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George Washington Gomez: A Mexicotexan Novel Paperback – January, 1990
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"Paredes evokes boyhood with more sympathy that anyone since Dickens... an excellent book." -- Austin American Statesman
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To me, this version of Texas historical fiction along the valley border presents a side to Mexican American settlement that few other books reveal. I find Paredes' story powerful and well worth reading.
Gualinto, little George Washington Gomez, is the American born son of his illegal immigrant parents; his father is an outlaw of some notoriety. The birth name his parents give him symbolizes their hope that he will become the leader of his people in America. But their hopes take a big detour as this little boy grows up in fictional Jonesville as a spoiled only son in a matriarchal household. With his father dead, the only strong male role for Gualinto is his reformed outlaw uncle.
Gualinto suffers the insults and taunts of growing up as a member of the poor and powerless society of South Texas. His family is subjected to the cruelities of racist Anglos, including the unattractive side of El Renche, the Texas Rangers. Even in an all Mexican American school for children, Gualinto is embarrassed and punished for his lack of academic accomplishment by the spinster Mexican American teacher . Those classroom scenes remind one of the cruelties found in Tom Brown's School Days and the writings of Charles Dickens.
Surrounded by love at home, treated kindly by some of the Jonesville citizenry, insulated from the cruelities exacted on his sisters who do not adhere to their mother's demands, Gualinto grows to adolescence and a time of continued social positioning that often leads to rejection.Read more ›
This book, originally written in the 1930s, wasn't published until 1990. Sometimes old manuscripts that get resurrected and published are better off left buried. But not this one-- This novel feels very fresh and alive even today. It tells the story of a young man whose father was murdered by Texas Rangers--a paramilitary force used by Anglo land grabbers. The novel chronicles the young man's journey through a segregated school system and his slowly developing political awareness, presaging the emerging Chicano resistance movement.
George Washington Gomez is fascinating not just because it is an interesting and well written story-- but also because it's so important as history. During the decades this book went unpublished, Anglo-Americans dominated the writing of Texas history. Much of what got published was one-sided propaganda--which is how the Texas Rangers got turned into mythic legends, rather than being considered war criminals. In George Washington Gómez, Paredes provides some balance to our history, and yet at the same time he avoids the pitfall of simply attacking the Anglos. In his book there are Mexicanos who are bad and Anglos who are good, and vice versa. It's a human story, wonderfully told. One of the most important Texas books ever written.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is an American masterpiece. It should be required reading in schools. It's amazing that Americo Paredes wrote this when he was only in his second year of junior college... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Sara McIntire
Interesting book. Liked it all the way until the end, which is the universal criticism of this book. A very strange and somewhat unpredictable ending. Didn't see that coming.Published 15 months ago by Kenneth Clark
It is more like biographical history.
Having grown up in the Valley decades ago, I can remember situations like - or similar to - the ones Paredes relates. Read more
I think this book is great and I recommend anyone who wants to begin reading the Mexican-American cannon. It's not too extreme and has a decent story. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Micheal O.
I WAS AMAZED WITH WHAT I READ AND REALLY ENJOYED THE BOOK. I WASNT EXPECTING WHAT IT TURNED OUT TO BE.Published on December 14, 2012 by Gaygar123
To begin with, I am not one who read books and I rarely finish books, but I had to read this book for class this semester while we were studying the history of Chicanos and of... Read morePublished on February 26, 2012 by kmre224
Paredes published this novel (written while very young) later in life. He didn't revise his original manuscript, a fact that accounts for some of the book's flaws. Read morePublished on July 29, 2010 by A reviewer