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Ramona (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Ramona is a second Uncle Tom’s Cabin. . . . The arrogant mestiza whose attachment to her Indian lover endures through persecution and death . . . and the desperate love they share until the vanquishing blond race casts them out like hunted animals . . . all this is alive in these pages.”
–José Martí

From the Back Cover

Ramona has often been compared to Uncle Tom's Cabin for its influence on American social policy, and this is the only edition available that presents this important novel in its full historical context. A huge popular and critical success when it was first published in 1884, Ramona is set among the California Spanish missions and tells the story of the young mixed-blood heroine, Ramona, and her Native American lover Alessandro, as they flee from the brutal violence of white settlers. This Broadview edition re-examines the novel's legacy by placing it alongside public speeches, letters, and newspaper articles that promoted what was ultimately a damaging campaign by reformers to "assimilate" Native American peoples. Selections from Jackson's non-fiction writings call into question the link between assimilationist policies and the story told in Ramona; also included are the writings and testimonies of some of Jackson's Native American contemporaries, as well as a selection of travel essays and images that helped to create "the Ramona myth." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451528425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451528421
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Marge Sexton on December 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Just when I had begun to despair that I might never truly fall in love with a book again, along came Ramona. From the first page, I was captured by the poetic nature of the writing. Some books can be read quickly, not so Ramona. Every sentence is crafted so carefully, every description so complete, some passages must be read over and over again just for the sheer pleasure of the prose. The plot combination of social justice and romance makes the book amazingly contemporary. The racism of this book is directed toward the Native American population and their story is a heart wrenching one indeed. The description of the startling beauty of the landscape and the lives of the characters stands in stark contrast to the breathtaking cruelty with which this nation took land from its native population. Ramona thrilled me and broke my heart. I highly recommend it.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen on July 27, 2001
Format: Library Binding
I have Heard Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson described as a "propaganda novel." That it well may have been in its day. But "Ramona" has not endured all these years because of a propaganda message. This novel has endured because of the trueness of the characters--The noble Alessandro, the patient, tender Ramona, the faithful Felipe, the just, stern, sad Senora Moreno.
Even the minor characters are true to form especially the jealous, vindictive Margarita, the loyal Marta, and the strutting but endearing Juan Can.
I rediscovered this book in a dusty corner of our public library and devoured in in two days.
A book becomes a classic when it becomes part of your soul. The love story of Ramona and Alessandro has burned itself into my heart where it will remain forever.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By LifeboatB on September 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just recently heard of this book, although it was a bestseller around the turn of the century, and was popular through the 20's. Modern readers may find the language and parts of the plot melodramatic and overly sentimental, but the characters are strong and memorable, the story is full of exciting incident, and the portrayal of the United States government still shocks. I grew up in California, but I had never really seen how "white Americans" appeared to the Native Americans and Mexicans who first lived here. "Ramona" gives the earlier settlers a voice. Erica Baumeister's review, quoted on the Amazon page for this book, states that "the book has the flaws of being created by an author who, although deeply engaged and sympathetic, had not experienced the life she was describing." I don't agree--perhaps if I had grown up as an "Indian" or Mexican in those times I wouldn't find the book convincing, but as it is, it worked for me. The main characters, Ramona and Alessandro, are "fairy-tale-ized", but their story still touches, and the book still has power. Helen Hunt Jackson purposely wrote "Ramona" to call attention to the U.S.'s unfair treatment of Native Americans, but the two essays included in the Signet edition claim that, for all the popularity of the novel, it didn't bring results. For that, we have only our own injustice to blame, because this poetic messenger did her best to right some wrongs.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Garman Lord on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Pity me," wrote Emily Dickinson, in a letter to her girlhood friend Helen Hunt Jackson, "I have just finished 'Ramona.'" "Ramona," a 19th century wild West romance that inspired a spate of 20th century movies and a swing era band standard title song, is more readable than one might think, written by American author Jackson, who deserves to be better remembered. I only got into Helen and her work myself because of my interest in Emily and her world. "Ramona," though wonderfully well-written and still readable, even historically important, is a 19th century romance, and therefore not "literature," properly speaking, nor likely to turn up as required reading in any academic curriculum anytime soon. It's not easy for us today to imagine that age, back when the much more famous Emily Dickinson was still completely unknown, in which the too young death of Helen Hunt Jackson inspired a national day of mourning.

Much of the historical interest of "Ramona" swirls around one of America's forgotten wars, much like Korea, in this case the Mexican War. To this day, Mexico still resents the loss of about half of itself to the burgeoning US, ceded to us by a corrupt pusillanimous Mexican government as essentially spoils of war, with matters considerably complicated by the discovery of gold in a huge chunk of it, California, a couple of years later. The issue in "Ramona," however, has principally to do with the fates of the population of the vast new territory at the time, namely its Mexicans and Indians. The tragic destruction of their wealth, ancient land titles and treaties, communities, culture and even people at the hands of the inrushing American population, all under the diffident benign neglect of Washington government, barely stopped short of softcore genocide.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard Bruno on July 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I must admit I read this novel only to get the background on my girlfriend Majel's name. I initially held no respect for its "Great American Love Story" subtitle, but this book really hit me right in the chest. I liked that I was able to extract the characters' personalities from their words and tones rather than from paragraphs of third-person description. I liked that it piqued my interest in nineteenth century Californian history, especially the upsetting struggle of the Mexicans and Native Americans living there. And lastly, I liked experiencing the boundless love that flowed from the simple, strong and beautiful Ramona. A quick, colorful, emotionally satisfying novel.
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