Home » North to Aztlan: A History of Mexican Americans in the United States by Arnoldo de León
North to Aztlan: A History of Mexican Americans in the United States Arnoldo de León

North to Aztlan: A History of Mexican Americans in the United States

Arnoldo de León

Published June 5th 2012
ISBN : 9780882952437
312 pages
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 About the Book 

This is a fairly decent textbook on the subject of Mexican Americans in the United States. I tend to grab anything on this subject and read them whenever they come my way. Having read more than a few, this one stands out as being among the better ones. Although, in my opinion there has yet to be one written that has the last word. Consequently, I still keep my eye out for any others. There naturally is some overlap when reading several books on one subject but this only reinforces the material and sometimes even offers new insights.This particular book is what is referred to as a survey of the subject. It breezes through main points rather than delves into them extensively. Nevertheless, it is fairly comprehensive in its coverage. This book was published in 1996 and covers events up until this time. However, it does somehow manage to overlook at least one major event of the 1990s just prior to its publication. Specifically California’s Proposition 187 in 1994, which denied health care, education and other social services to Mexican immigrants. {Later, it was repealed as unconstitutional in 1999.] Possibly this was too controversial of a topic or maybe the authors needed more data to report it fairly. Whatever the case may be, this is the book’s one serious glaring oversight in an otherwise honest and stark accounting of the overall facts and circumstances.One of the standout qualities of this book for me was that it also makes a point of showcasing the many contributions that Mexican-Americans have made to the arts. Many of the chapters here include information on the literature, films and music that Mexican Americans have contributed to our culture. This is often overlooked in other books dealing with the same subject and it was good to see this aspect acknowledged.On a minor point, although but briefly mentioned, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Hunter S. Thompson’s friend and partner in anarchy who is vividly portrayed in both of the movies on Thompson [“Where The Buffalo Roam” & “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas”] is given his proper due here as a vital part in Chicano history. Rather than merely dismissing him as a psychotic sidekick, as most people may rightly view him due to these films, he was actually much more than this and played a large role during the 1960s and 1970s Brown Power movement. I was pleased to see this acknowledged in print and in a University Press textbook at that.