Starred Review. Despite its title, this volume from L.A. Times columnist Rodriguez is a thorough and accessible history of Mexico that emphasizes the legacy of mestizaje, mixed races, among Mexico's inhabitants. Beginning with Cortes' arrival in 1519, an elaborate system of racial classification was put into place to keep separate Spanish and native peoples. The failure of this system, Rodriguez argues, allowed for a more progressive and open-minded approach to race in Mexico compared with, for example, the U.S.: "In colonial New Mexico, mestizaje was the rule rather than the exception." Black/white racial lines were nonexistent, as African natives merged effortlessly into Mexican society (which abolished slavery nearly 40 years before the States). Other developments include the Mexican-American War and subsequent insurgencies in the huge swath of Mexican land ceded to the U.S.; the Mexican revolution and the immigration wave it inspired; the backlash against Mexican-Americans during the depression years; and the Chicano movement of the 1960s and '70s. There's more at stake in Rodriguez's text than the latest immigration hullabaloo (he doesn't get around to addressing the past 30 years until the last chapter); aside from illuminating a complicated history and deeply contextualizing the present debate, the author takes on the concept of racial classification itself, calling for a change in attitude that more closely reflects the Mexican unifying idea of mestizaje, that we are all, to some extent, racially mixed "mongrels."
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“A fascinating excursion through the history of Mexican immigrants in the United States, full of instructive revelations and forgotten facts.” —The Washington Post Book World “Brilliant. . . . Politically savvy and enchanting.”—Los Angeles Times“Riveting. . . . A thought- provoking account of current-day Mexican Americans and their forefathers.”—The San Antonio Express-News“Required reading for anybody interested in the future of the United States. . . . The best available account of the origins, history, ideas, and aspirations of Mexican-Americans.”—Foreign AffairsSee all Editorial Reviews
Very accessible well researched book! Highly recommendable.Published 5 months ago by Dosinda Garciaalvite
I had bought this book before, & gave it to a friend. Bought this one to give to my grand daughter.
Both of us enyoyed this book immensly , because of its historical info.
I think highly of this book. It shows the blend of race in both Mexico and the USA. The first Spaniards who came to New Spain with Cortes married into the Indian race. Read morePublished on April 24, 2012 by Kevin M Quigg
I really enjoyed this book. The history was so comprehensive; it definitely raised the bar for anyone wanting to write about Mexcian immigration trends. Hard book to put down.Published on January 8, 2010 by Nihilist
Insightful and comprehensive history of the development of Mexico and its indigenous people.This information provides relevant understanding about today's immigration concerns and... Read morePublished on February 7, 2009 by Thoreau
This is a very well written, well researched book. It is scholarly, yet very readable. In this day and age when too many Americans resort to an over-simplification of complex... Read morePublished on January 26, 2009 by h Alton Jones
Almost from the very beginning, the United States has exhibited a schizophrenic attitude toward Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants living in the United States. Read morePublished on October 20, 2008 by Armchair Interviews
Gregory Rodriguez tells the true story of the Spanish, Indian, Anglo & Mexican history of the Southwest. Read morePublished on April 13, 2008 by Robert Chavez
Gregory Rodriguez describes the fluid, malleable, race formation that allowed Mexicans to move up the white supremacist hierarchy by shedding their Indian and Black bloodlines. Read morePublished on April 7, 2008 by sandra martin