Mexican-Origin People in the United States
A Topical History
Hardcover ($49.95), Paperback ($24.95)
The history of the United States in the twentieth century is inextricably entwined with that of people of Mexican origin. The twenty million Mexicans and Mexican Americans living in the U.S. today are predominantly a product of post-1900 growth, and their numbers give them an increasingly meaningful voice in the political process. Oscar Martínez here recounts the struggle of a people who have scraped and grappled to make a place for themselves in the American mainstream. Focusing on social, economic, and political change during the twentieth century—particularly in the American West—Martínez provides a survey of long-term trends among Mexican Americans and shows that many of the difficult conditions they have experienced have changed decidedly for the better. Organized thematically, the book addresses population dynamics, immigration, interaction with the mainstream, assimilation into the labor force, and growth of the Mexican American middle class. Martínez then examines the various forms by which people of Mexican descent have expressed themselves politically: becoming involved in community organizations, participating as voters, and standing for elective office. Finally he summarizes salient historical points and offers reflections on issues of future significance. Where appropriate, he considers the unique circumstances that distinguish the experiences of Mexican Americans from those of other ethnic groups. By the year 2000, significant numbers of people of Mexican origin had penetrated the middle class and had achieved unprecedented levels of power and influence in American society; at the same time, many problems remain unsolved, and the masses face new challenges created by the increasingly globalized U.S. economy. This concise overview of Mexican-origin people puts these successes and challenges in perspective and defines their contribution to the shaping of modern America.
"A concise overview which puts their successes and challenges in perspective and defines their contribution to the shaping of modern America. . . . An excellent choice as a textbook for Mexican-American studies courses at any level." Multicultural Review"An excellent introduction . . . The analysis is penetrating and thought provoking, the explanations clear and concise." Journal of Arizona History"The historical background given is thorough and rich in useful statistical detail, stressing the community's demographic strength over the decades (reaching 5.3 million by 1900), and, above all, the tensions and problems which arose after 1900, the post-1940 contradictions between inherent racism and employers' needs (around the bracero program), between the ambitions of the new immigrants and the fears and conservatism of the indigenous Mexican-Americans, and the gradual realization that the road to identity mean accepting differences." History: Reviews of Books"A readable synthesis of a people that will soon become the country's second-largest minority . . . a book displaying the author's keen ability to connect the struggles and triumphs of the twentieth century with contemporary times." Southwest Historical Quarterly"Clearly written, well organized, and accessible . . . Professors looking for books to assign in Chicano/a Studies courses . . . would surely do well in including Mexican-Origin People in the United States on their syllabi." Southern California Quarterly