Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican Americans from the Colonial Period to the Present Era (AAR AIDS for the Study of Religion)

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9780195158519: Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican Americans from the Colonial Period to the Present Era (AAR AIDS for the Study of Religion)

Book by zaragosa vargas

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"An excellent survey of Mexican American history from colonial times to the present. . . Focused mainly on the structural forces that have shaped socio-economic conditions of Mexicans in the U. S., Crucible of Struggle is sure to quickly replace the canonic texts now available for teaching Mexican American history."--Ramon A. Gutierrez, University of Chicago


"An impressive achievement--in one grand sweep, Vargas covers Mexican American history from Spanish settlement to the present day, taking the first 300 years as seriously as the last one hundred."--Sarah Deutsch, Duke University


"Crucible of Struggle is an exciting new history of Mexican Americans from the Spanish colonial period to the Latino present. Based on the latest and best scholarly research, this prodigious work goes into greater depth than previous surveys on generally unknown subjects, such as Mexican American heroism in armed conflicts from the Civil War through World War II."--John Chavez, Southern Methodist University


Reseña del editor:

Ranging from the founding of New Mexico in 1598 to the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican Americans from the Colonial Period to the Present Era vividly outlines and explores the totality of the 500-year Mexican American experience that is woven into the greater context of American history. It maps out current debates in Mexican American history while also incorporating new scholarship from the last thirty years.

Taking a regional approach that carefully avoids sweeping generalizations about Mexican Americans' experiences—and including and acknowledging the presence and contributions of women—the book covers such diverse topics as gender, Mexican/Native American interactions, and Mexican migration.

The book begins with a discussion of the formative stages of Mexican life and society in the Southwest, including Spanish colonialism and the themes of settlement, Indian and colonial intercultural trade, and Indian resistance; the rise of capitalist agriculture in the 1870s and 1880s; agrarian protest and populism; race relations; and the effect of late-nineteenth-century railroad building on the economics of northern Mexico and on the U.S. and Mexican migration. It goes on to cover a variety of topics, for example, the first wave of Mexican immigration to the U.S., from the 1910 Mexican Revolution to the early Great Depression, reflecting on the challenges that Mexicans faced in the initial years and their adaptation to their new homeland.

The text also details such key topics as repatriation; the surge of union activism among mine, cannery, and agricultural workers in the 1930s; the appeal of communism and the struggle against fascism; the domestic and overseas warfront experiences of Mexican Americans during World War II; the postwar struggles for economic and social justice; 1960s and 1970s Chicano movement radicalism, including the self-emancipation of Mexican American women; the 1980s multicultural wars spawned by America's rightward turn, and the ongoing process of globalization and its increasing inequalities as embodied in the North American Free Trade Agreement. The final chapter is an epilogue that considers the post-9/11 anti-immigrant fervor and the implications of the dramatic growth of the Latino population in the early twenty-first century. Because of its scope of coverage, insight, and readability, Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican Americans from the Colonial Period to the Present Era is a very valuable asset in college and university undergraduate courses on the history of Mexican Americans.

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Vargas, Zaragosa
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