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Latino USA, Revised Edition: A Cartoon History Paperback – April 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780465082506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465082506
  • ASIN: 0465082505
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If it's a comic book, then it can't be a work of serious scholarship, right? Wrong. Ilan Stavans, a literary scholar and cultural historian, teams up with Chicano artist Lalo Alcaraz to craft an endlessly entertaining but painstakingly researched history of Latinos--also called Latin Americans and Hispanics, and taking in peoples from all over the Spanish-speaking world--in the United States. Stavans's text covers the ground from avocados to zoot suits, touching on such matters as the Puerto Rican independence movement, the Mexican American War, the Marielito flotilla, and the ongoing struggle for civil rights throughout the hemisphere.

Stavans has great fun, it's clear, twitting received wisdom. He observes, for instance, that Mexico's "Niños Heroes" may be an invention of folklore, and wryly remarks that "nationalism turns egotism into an ideology." Alcaraz has just as much fun, subversively borrowing stock figures such as the toucan (a symbol in much Latin American literature) and the skeleton to serve as a kind of ironic Greek chorus. But author and illustrator also fulfill an earnestly undertaken mission: namely, in Stavans's words, to "represent Hispanic civilization as a fiesta of types, archetypes, and stereotypes" and to tell its story from many points of view. In this they succeed admirably, and Latino U.S.A. is required reading for anyone interested in democratic, inclusive historical writing. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

". . . Latino's kaleidoscopic perspective bubbles with an irreverent mix of Latin politics, wit, self-reference and sincerity." -- San Antonio Express-News [September 1, 2000]

". . . an amusing comic book that outlines the salient features of U.S. Latino history." -- Houston Chronicle [November 1, 2000]

"....a cartoon history for everyone: ...witty and inviting." -- Kirkus Reviews [October 1, 2000]

"Latino USA explores these and similarly serious questions in entertaining cartoon form." -- Austin American-Statesman [October 30,

"Read this primer if you don't want to be left out." -- The --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Told using cartoons, the subject is very serious.
Charles Ashbacher
Deliciously left wing, and direct and powerful, Ilan Stavans is not afraid to stand and be counted and he knows that you might not like what he has to say.
"hsgfrombc"
It seems a little like a rant on the author's part.
case-o

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "hsgfrombc" on November 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Deliciously left wing, and direct and powerful, Ilan Stavans is not afraid to stand and be counted and he knows that you might not like what he has to say. And what he has to say is " Look here. This is good. This is powerful."
He reaches out to inform -- and celebrate the culture-- with authority and panache. He speaks the truth about the oppressed and the oppressor and his book pulls no punches in a direct attack on any hint of a poor Latino self-image. No time for pity here because the time for ascendance is coming.
This book is a necessary shakeup. It's a primer, albeit uneven at times, to folks outside the Latino community and a step in reaching out to those who don't know the truth of their (varied) civilizations.
Rich and potent, this opinionated polemic stands out as a tool to understanding and pride.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By sam lopez on September 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My joy at hearing about a cartoon history of Latinos (not, you may notice, Latinas or even Latina/os) illustrated by Lalo Alcaraz was tempered only slightly by hearing the editor (not, I'm sorry Mr Stavans, the author) was self-styled Mexican kitsch authority Ilan Stavans. "A possible resource for teaching!" I thought. Reading the book, however, was such a great disappointment that I doubt it's going to make the cut for the classroom.
Without denigrating at all Lalo Alcaraz' art, the book fails on several levels, not the least of which is originality. The first question I asked myself was "Who was this written for?" The introduction to what could have been a revolutionary book seems to veer between being too clever for its own good and winking in the direction of academics, intimating somehow that "comics" are a kind of Latino cultural icon that is kitschy and therefore useful for transmitting ideas. Stavans hasn't done much work on cartoons or comics, or the notion that cartoonish comic art is more (or less) appropriate to represent Latino history would have been more informed. Alcaraz' talent rises above this rather mediocre beginning and keeps the reader amused, even while Stavans (as a cartoon Mini-Me) keeps popping up exclaiming the inevitability of historical bias, insisting on the futility of "truth" in history, and generally sounding defensive. Instead of acknowledging the real social and cultural impact of how history has been and gets transmitted, Stavans seems to want to exist in an academic, vague vacuum, which he may believe protects him or makes him appear to be unbiased-- it does neither. Even some of us academics know that.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Crocker on October 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ilan Stavans studies and teaches Latino and Latin American culture and most recently authored Spanglish: The Making Of A New American Language. Lalo Alcaraz reaches the public on a daily basis through his most excellent comic strip La Cucaracha. Together they have joined to take the reader on a trip through Latino USA: A Cartoon History. Biting and sweet, biased and fair, incomplete but thorough, Latino USA is a good way to introduce yourself to the history of the majority minority in the United States. The scholarship is tight and Alcaraz's art makes it go down easy. I can't wait to get my copy into the school library, where I hope some of my not very cosmopolitan anglo students and not as self-aware as they could be latino students get pulled in by the drawings and learn a little history. I highly recommend this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sospanyol on August 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The mezcla of the cartoons of Lalo Alcaraz (of the comic strip La Cucaracha) and the scholarship of Ilan Stavans creates a lively and informative overview of the history of US Latinos, cleverly incorporating traditional Latino theatrical characters and symbols as the storytellers. The book is great fun to read; its format makes it accessible to readers of all ages, and anyone fuzzy about the role Latinos have played in US history and culture during the past 500 years or so should RUSH to buy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Este libro esta bien bueno. Es pa' toda nuestra gente. I highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I heard about this book on the radio in Washington, DC. I went and bought it. It is very funny, thought-provoking, and really worth the time. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book made me laugh a lot. It is very witty! I loved the cartoons and the text and the way they are connected.
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