¡Celebra!: Books for National Hispanic Heritage Month

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month! From September 15 to October 15, we recognize Hispanic and Latino Americans, celebrating the heritage, the culture, and the important role these diverse peoples play in the history of the United States.

This month, we’ve prepared a selection of books across disciplines to showcase the unique experiences of Hispanic and Latino Americans. Happy #HispanicHeritage Month, and happy reading!


Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America
Roberto G. Gonzales 

This vivid ethnography explores why highly educated undocumented youth share similar work and life outcomes with their less-educated peers. Mining the results of an extraordinary twelve-year study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles, Lives in Limbo exposes the failures of a system that integrates children into K-12 schools but ultimately denies them the rewards of their labor.

“Superb. . . . An important examination of the devastating consequences of ‘illegality’ on our young people.”—Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Her

 

The New Latino Studies Reader: A Twenty-First-Century Perspective
Ramon A. Gutierrez, Tomas Almaguer (Editors)

The New Latino Studies Reader is designed as a contemporary, updated, multifaceted collection of writings that bring to force the exciting, necessary scholarship of the last decades. Its aim is to introduce a new generation of students to a wide-ranging set of essays that helps them gain a truer understanding of what it’s like to be a Latino in the United States.

“Two of the leading scholars in the field forged this reader in the teaching trenches. This collection represents the perfect balance between cutting-edge scholarship and touchstone essays.”—Natalia Molina, author of How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts

 

Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution, With a New Foreword by Marc Grossman
Peter Matthiessen

Sal Si Puedes is less reportage than living history. In its pages a whole era comes alive: the Chicano, Black Power, and antiwar movements; the browning of the labor movement; Chavez’s fasts; the nationwide boycott of California grapes. A new foreword by Marc Grossman considers the significance of Chavez’s legacy for our time. As well as serving as an indispensable guide to the 1960s, this book rejuvenates the extraordinary vitality of Chavez’s life and spirit, giving his message a renewed and much-needed urgency.

“Cesar Chavez is gracefully revealed by Peter Matthiessen as a curiously private public figure who is in love with people.”—Chicago Tribune

 

Grit and Hope: A Year with Five Latino Students and the Program That Helped Them Aim for College
Barbara Davenport

Grit and Hope tells the story of five inner-city Hispanic students who start their college applications in the midst of the country’s worst recession and of Reality Changers, the program that aims to help them become the first in their families to go college. Told with deep affection and without sentimentality, the students stories show that although poverty and cultural deprivation seriously complicate youths’ efforts to launch into young adulthood, the support of a strong program makes a critical difference.

“Reality Changers is absolutely a model, not just for the city, not just for the state, but for the country.” —Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

 

The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez: Crossing Religious Borders
Luis D. León

While there is much debate and truth-seeking around how he is remembered, through investigating the leader’s construction of his own public memory, Luis D. León probes the meaning of the discrepancies. By refocusing Chavez’s life and beliefs into three broad movements—mythology, prophecy, and religion—brings us a moral and spiritual agent to match the political leader.

“Cesar Chavez treated religion as he treated so many topics of importance in his life: as something to be willed into contribution to a higher good… Luis León has written a book equal in grace, compassion, and subtlety to its subject.” —Kathryn Lofton, Professor of Religious Studies, American Studies, History, and Divinity at Yale University

 

From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement
Matthew Garcia

Based on little-known sources and one-of-a-kind oral histories with many veterans of the farm worker movement, this book revises much of what we know about the UFW. Matt Garcia’s gripping account of the expansion of the union’s grape boycott reveals how the boycott, which UFW leader Cesar Chavez initially resisted, became the defining feature of the movement and drove the growers to sign labor contracts in 1970. Garcia also presents in-depth studies of other leaders in the UFW, including Gilbert Padilla, Marshall Ganz, Dolores Huerta, and Jerry Cohen.

“A thorough history of the rise and fall of Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers labor union… Meticulous and timely.”—Kirkus Reviews

 

Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People, Updated Edition, with a New Preface
Arlene Dávila

Both Hollywood and corporate America are taking note of the marketing power of the growing Latino population in the United States. Yet the increasing visibility of Latinos in mainstream culture has not been accompanied by a similar level of economic parity or political enfranchisement. In this important, original, and entertaining book, Arlene Dávila provides a critical examination of the Hispanic marketing industry and of its role in the making and marketing of U.S. Latinos.

“A work derived from prodigious fieldwork that sets a standard for the ethnography of cultural institutions in their varied corporate forms and market participations. Latinos Inc. provides a rich, fascinating, and fresh empirical venue for theories of identity and ethnicity in the U.S.”—George Marcus, author of Ethnography Through Thick & Thin