Wide-ranging and provocative, Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds offers 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. Rodriguez deftly delineates the effects of mestizaje throughout the centuries, traces the northern movement of this "mongrelization," explores the emergence of a new Mexican American identity in the 1930s, and analyzes the birth and death of the Chicano movement. Vis-a-vis the present era of Mexican American confidence, he persuasively argues that the rapidly expanding Mexican American integration in to the mainstream is changing not only how Americans think about race but how we envision our nation.
Deeply informative--as historically sound as it is anecdotally rich, brilliantly reasoned, and highly though provoking--Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds is a major contribution to the discussion of the cultural and political future of the United States.
Despite its unappealing title, Gregory Rodriguez's Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds provides a fascinating excursion through the history of Mexican immigrants in the United States. Full of instructive revelations and forgotten facts, the book shows how the treatment and status of immigrants have always been hostage to the vicissitudes of historyfrom the Gold Rush to the invasion of Iraq. The best sections of this book by a Mexican American columnist for the Los Angeles Times cover events that occurred long ago. But by putting the current tensions in a solid historical context, Rodriguez offers hope that they too will eventually subside and be followed by a cooler spell in which a lasting, more rational solution can prevail over the politics of fear and bigotry.