This sweeping, vibrant narrative chronicles the history of the Mexican community in Los Angeles. Douglas Monroy unravels the dramatic, complex story of Mexican immigration to Los Angeles during the early decades of the twentieth century and shows how Mexican immigrants re-created their lives and their communities. Against the backdrop of this newly created cityscape, Rebirth explores pivotal aspects of Mexican Los Angeles during this time—its history, political economy, popular culture—and depicts the creation of a time and place unique in Californian and American history.
Mexican boxers, movie stars, politicians, workers, parents, and children, American popular culture and schools, and historical fervor on both sides of the border all come alive in this literary, jargon-free chronicle. In addition to the colorful unfolding of the social and cultural life of Mexican Los Angeles, Monroy tells a story of first-generation immigrants that provides important points of comparison for understanding other immigrant groups in the United States.
Monroy shows how the transmigration of space, culture, and reality from Mexico to Los Angeles became neither wholly American nor Mexican, but México de afuera, "Mexico outside," a place where new concerns and new lives emerged from what was both old and familiar. This extremely accessible work uncovers the human stories of a dynamic immigrant population and shows the emergence of a truly transnational history and culture. Rebirth provides an integral piece of Chicano history, as well as an important element of California urban history, with the rich, synthetic portrait it gives of Mexican Los Angeles.
Douglas Monroy is Professor of History and Director of Southwest Studies at The Colorado College. He is the author of Thrown among Strangers: The Making of Mexican Culture in Frontier California (California, 1990).
"A detailed, rich, and engaging text on Mexicans in Los Angeles, from the turn of the century, when their presence was virtually unacknowledged, to the 1930s, when Mexican communities created a significant presence in the city. Monroy's book offers a sweeping narrative that carries you into Los Angeles and beyond, through a discussion of immigration pathways, work lives, and the popular culture of the immigrants and the first generation youth."—Lisbeth Haas, author of Conquests and Historical Identities in California, 1769-1936