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State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream Hardcover – September 25, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568587023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568587028
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Reason“State Out of the Union is a genuinely interesting investigation into the stark…nativism that has driven Arizona politics recently…. Biggers capably documents the extent to which nativism permeates Arizona politics and molds its political leaders.” Three Sonorans“State Out of the Union…is the must-read book of the 2012 election to understand not just where we are today, but where we are headed in the near future using our history as a guide.” Publishers Weekly“[F]eisty….Biggers unearths some interesting Arizona history and builds a sharp…case against contradictions in the anti-immigrant position.” Kirkus Reviews“[Biggers’] extensive evidence gives the book authenticity….A timely book, especially with immigration policy playing a major role in the upcoming presidential campaign.” Publishers Weekly“Perhaps no issue captures better what it means to be American than the contentious legislative debate around who can become American. Certainly, that question will be a major part of the November election, and into the fray comes an examination of the controversial policies and practices in Arizona: State Out of the Union.” Luis Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and The Hummingbird’s Daughter“Jeff Biggers has the unblinking gaze of the honed journalist, a novelist’s sense of image and story, and a prophet’s cache of outrage. He stands in my very short list of American literary heroes. With his new book, Biggers shows us he can write anything—and do it well. His aim is true.”
Shelf Awareness
“[A]s a matter of cultural and historical record, State Out of the Union leaves readers with much to consider.”

Iowa City Press-Citizen“A scathing critique of [Arizona’s] current politics and history….Biggers’ investigative research and boots-on-the ground journalism — not to mention his thorough knowledge of Arizona’s tri-cultural heritage of American Indian, Hispanic American and European American history — provide readers with an in-depth understanding of the state’s controversial past and present….His historical and political conclusions are the most damning ever published about Arizona’s short history as a state.” Shelf Awareness“[A]s a matter of cultural and historical record, State Out of the Union leaves readers with much to consider.”

Library Journal
“[M]ixing memoir, journalism, and history, Biggers narrates a people-focused multicultural story of clashing cycles of nativism and openness in a struggle for community recognition, citizenship rights, and humanity in what has become a militarized borderland…. [A] pivotal issue for national consideration…[a] compelling reading during a national election season and beyond.”

The Progressive

"[A] sweeping chronicle of Arizona."

El Paso Times
"As the country struggles to deal with immigration, civil rights and what it means to be an American, State Out of the Union serves as a guide to the cultural showdown that now seems inevitable."

About the Author

Jeff Biggers is the American Book Award-winning of The United States of Appalachia, and In the Sierra Madre. He has worked as a writer, radio correspondent and educator across the United States, Europe, India and Mexico. His award-winning stories have appeared on National Public Radio, Public Radio International and in numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, among others. He splits his time between Tucson and Illinois. His website is: www.jeffbiggers.com

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Martinez on October 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a must read for anyone wanting a clear-eyed view of what the American West portends not just for the region but for the nation. Biggers digs deep into the roots of nativism and also provides a much needed portrait of Arizona's progressive community, whose history also extends back to the frontier. One might think that these contrary strains might be part some sort of permanent dialectic (much as the immigration debate dates back to even before the founding the American republic). But Biggers leaves no doubt that the future is not with Jan Brewer and her ilk. The New West's demographic revolution ensures that Arizona will grow ever more diverse, in the color of its skin, in the languages its peoples speak, in its politics. The neo-Know Nothings will soon become relics in the museum of history.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Barbara W. Huntington on October 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am grateful to my professor who assigned this book for a class as I probably wouldn't have found it on my own. Jeff Biggers is a masterful writer, but more than that, he has a native's insight into the history of Arizona and what has brought it to its current political crisis. With historical perspective, we get a better sense of what has shaped the anti-immigrant/tea party movement and the crackdown on Latino/a Studies. We also can see hope for a more inclusive tomorrow. After reading the book, I had the opportunity to hear Jeff in person. If you learn he will be in your town, run, don't walk, to hear a passionate author make history and current events come alive. If you want to understand what is happening in our polarized America, this book is a must read!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By sue doherty on October 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I'm currently doing research on the banning of the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson. This summer was the first time I'd heard of that issue, and as a lifelong New Englander I didn't know a whole lot about Arizona's history or politics other than the most general information. I had heard about the anti-immigration law SB 1070 and all the controversy surrounding it, and I thought this book would help me to understand the historical background and contemporary context of the Tucson United School District's ban on Mexican American Studies.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in understanding the history and politics of Arizona, current immigration and Mexican border issues, and the controversy over ethnic studies, but the book also goes far beyond that. I learned a lot about some of the most extremist, right-wing personalities of the Tea Party and how they behave when in power and also about different groups and individuals, including the Mormons and ancestors of Mitt Romney, who have "settled" in Arizona and Mexico and oppressed native populations at various time in its history. Coming from the fairly liberal state of Massachusetts, I really could not believe what these Tea Party politicians and law-enforcers and vigilantes and school administrators in Arizona do and seem to get away with. The book does show some of these people getting their due, however, for instance, the successful recall of Tom Pearce, and it ends hopefully. The fight will go on there to bring back Mexican American Studies and to challenge anti-Chicano legislation and policies. Note: This book goes well with Jill Lepore's "The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow- I have lived in northern AZ tor 25 years and read daily. Of many of the events in this book-- bit the authors exploration of the historical background of many of these events gave me a new understanding. It brings both hope for the future and wonder that so many discredited ideas of the past about the inequality of peoples never seem to die even when repeatedly debunked.

This book is a must read for anyone interested in understanding AZ
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jakob on December 10, 2012
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Jeff Biggers has done an excellent job providing a history of post SB-1070 Arizona and the reaction against it and similar bills. He profiles many of the major movers and shakers in the state, and demonstrates that the toxic political climate in Arizona is nothing new. Even going so far back as the Clifton-Morenci strike in 1903, the Bisbee deportation of IWWs in 1917 and the formation of Arizona in 1912, Biggers demonstrates that Arizona has a long history of nativist reaction.

Fortunately though, Biggers also demonstrates that Arizona has just as long of a history of excellent organizing against this nativist reaction. He weaves clearly from issues throughout Arizona's history, old and new. Id recommend the book as required reading for anyone new to the state, or anyone in general who is interested in Arizona's history and how we got to where we are.
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