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The Revolt of the Cockroach People Paperback – August 28, 1989

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Acosta has entered counterculture folklore:"

-- Saturday Review of Literature

From the Inside Flap

The further adventures of "Dr. Gonzo" as he defends the "cucarachas" -- the Chicanos of East Los Angeles.
Before his mysterious disappearance and probable death in 1971, Oscar Zeta Acosta was famous as a Robin Hood Chicano lawyer and notorious as the real-life model for Hunter S. Thompson's "Dr. Gonzo" a fat, pugnacious attorney with a gargantuan appetite for food, drugs, and life on the edge.
In this exhilarating sequel to The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo, Acosta takes us behind the front lines of the militant Chicano movement of the late sixties and early seventies, a movement he served both in the courtroom and on the barricades. Here are the brazen games of "chicken" Acosta played against the Anglo legal establishment; battles fought with bombs as well as writs; and a reluctant hero who faces danger not only from the police but from the vatos locos he champions. What emerges is at once an important political document of a genuine popular uprising and a revealing, hilarious, and moving personal saga.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (August 28, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679722122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679722120
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After reading this book, and actually living through those turbulent times of the 60's and 70' s , it was refreshing to read and feel the burning frustration and love that this man was experiencing and the way he expressed his anger against the machine. This type of awareness has been lost , due to us the forefathers of the Chicano Movement, to teach our own and other's children of how important those actions were, so that we may emphasize education, political power and family values. We have implemented a course in Chicano Studies in schools, we now have political representation in our governments, and many more success stories that are due to the work of such people as Cesar Chavez, Ruben Salazar and Corky Gonzales. Oscar Zeta was a man amongst his own that was afraid of nothing and no one.My thanks to him for fighting the powers that be and for creating an example for all of us, regardless of race. You have to stand up for what you believe and Acosta is atrue testament to that.
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Format: Paperback
This is the most realistic book I have ever seen about Mexican American hippies in Aztlan, the Chicanos of the 1960's neo-freedom movements. It will surely become a collector's item worth saving in this era of gung-ho Americanism which does not know the kind of objectivity Acosta displays with regard to how we think and why we believe as we do. Hunter S. Thompson described the author better than I can in his introduction to the book, highlighting his uniqueness while lamenting his untimely passing. I will write more after I give the book a more thorough second reading.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book after finding out that Oscar Zeta Acosta was the fat Samoan lawyer from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Acosta's style is similar, with a lot of drugs and sex with minors. The differences are that Acosta isn't tripping the whole time and he has time to incite political rallies. I love when they protest the Catholic church, or when he pleasures himself with some nubile young high schoolers under a blanket during a sit-in.... For those interested in the turbulent times that was the 60s, this is a must-read.
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I enjoyed this book. It's an interesting, almost cartoonishly vulgar snapshot of Chicano movements in the late sixties; however, I agree with earlier reviewers who say that Acosta's depictions of women are severely flawed. While I understand that it was the sixties and maybe the circles Acosta was moving around in were a little more sexually liberated, it seems that almost every woman he comes across in this book is some kind of horny cougar or lolita, and sex ends up becoming the focal point of his interactions with most of them. Even when the occasional strong, independent, revolutionary woman appears in the story, she is usually objectified with descriptions of her legs, ass, breasts or looks in general. To be fair, his descriptions of men in the stories are fairly colorful too, so perhaps a lot of this was just "macho" posturing. It also seems like he was a little too comfortable with the idea of having sex with underage teenagers. So... there's that too. Anyway, I don't think the point of this book is to be pretty and polite and inspiring only... it was to be honest and to show the ugly, sweaty, bloody nature of revolution as it manifested in 1960s California. And it does that very well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a Chicano classic no doubt about it. It captures the time of a turbulent America, specifically Los Angeles, East Los Angeles to be exact, including the downtown power structure. It is a document of an era that all the reportage of the time rarely captured, with exception of course to Ruben Salazar the slain reporter of KMEX and the Los Angeles Times who plays an integral role within the novel. It's also an insider's view of what went down in the Chicano Community at a certain poignant time. It captures the mood and the feeling of the late 60's and early 70's, from the "Blow Outs" or walk outs in the schools of the eastside to the infamous Chicano Moratorium march, protest, gathering and eventual police riot. It is a highly engaging and entertaining novel as it is a serious socio-political document. It's written in the so-called "gonzo" style he and Hunter S. Thompson made famous. Harlem 48' had "Invisible Man", East L.A. 69-70' has "The Revolt of the Cockroach People". Chalk one down for the "Indians"!! Definitely an L.A. classic!
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This book was very entertaining, and an interesting look into the militant Chicano movement in L.A. I do think that a reader should know something about the broader Chicano movement in order to appreciate the book's value. I highly recommend the read, but do be aware that the book does not represent the entire Chicano movement (during that time period or now). For example, there are many parts of the book that could be critiqued from a feminist perspective.
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Bought this book for my son. He enjoyed the read.
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Format: Paperback
I haven't managed to read the book more than the first part, will update when I do. However, I wanted to warn people. The 1989 Vintage Books edition with a forward by Hinter S. Thompson and afterword by Marco Acosta has drawings of cockroaches printed throughout the book. I found it too revolting to read. I'm purchasing a different edition so I can finish the book.
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