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An unprecedented account of the long-term cultural and political influences that Mexican-Americans will have on the collective character of our nation.
In considering the largest immigrant group in American history, Gregory Rodriguez examines the complexities of its heritage and of the racial and cultural synthesis--mestizaje--that has defined the Mexican people since the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century. He persuasively argues that the rapidly expanding Mexican American integration into the mainstream is changing not only how Americans think about race but also how we envision our nation. Brilliantly reasoned, highly thought provoking, and as historically sound as it is anecdotally rich, Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds is a major contribution to the discussion of the cultural and political future of the United States.
“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 Affairs
"In the midst of a narrow, polemical debate on immigration, Gregory Rodriguez has written a generous, sweeping, prodigiously researched, and judicious history of Mexican Americans that helps us understand their long-term influence on American society. Smart, fun, and eminently readable, Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds explores five centuries of cultural collisions and convergences, and dares us to imagine a new way of thinking about the future of America.” —Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico and former United States ambassador to the United Nations
“Rodriguez has pulled off not one but two stunning coups—a thoroughly original history and a penetrating commentary on what race means and will mean in our era and beyond. From 1519 to the front page of today's newspaper, from the Virgin of Guadalupe to the National Council of La Raza—the sweep alone is breathtaking. But every chapter also drills deep, and they build to an important new argument about the future of the American melting pot. By turns learned, fascinating, deeply felt (this is no academic history), completely contemporary, and, in its picture of where we're heading, as persuasive as it is provocative. A tour de force.” —Tamar Jacoby, author of Someone Else's House: America's Unfinished Struggle for Integration
“Passionately argued, thoroughly researched... Draws a far more complex portrait of Mexican Americans and Mexicans in America than is found in our media. Rodriguez's book provides a welcome interjection of sanity and complexity into a debate that so far has been largely characterized by ignorance, ideology, and hysteria.” —Eric Alterman, author of When Presidents Lie: A History of the Official Deception and Its Consequences
“Trailblazing. . . . Rodriguez examines the complex racial and ethnic heritage of Mexican Americans with a sweeping historical insight that demolishes widespread prevalent myths. . . . A vital contribution to understanding the role of Mexican Americans in U.S. society.” —Lou Cannon, author of President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
“An indispensable guide to America’s future—and an optimistic one, too.” —Adrian Woolridge, co-author of The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America