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Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States

by

Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar takes us on the definitive tour of the Spanish-speaking United States — a parallel nation, 35 million strong, that is changing the very notion of what it means to be an American in unprecedented and unexpected ways.

The year 2005 will mark Latino-Americans' first year as the largest minority in the United States. By the middle of the century, Spanish-speaking Americans will make up 25 percent of the population. Never before has a group been as poised to make so substantial an impact on American culture and identity. And not just in California and Texas — but also in Georgia, Alabama, New York, and Idaho. As a Guatemalan-American journalist, Héctor Tobar has grown up with and chronicled this parallel nation, surrounded by its people and their collective experiences, complexities, and contradictions. In Translation Nation he introduces us to its past, the present — and our future.

Tobar begins on familiar terrain, in his native Los Angeles, with his family's story, along with that of two brothers of Mexican origin with very different interpretations of Americanismo, or American identity as seen through a Latin American lens — one headed for U.S. citizenship and the other for the wrong side of the law and the south side of the border. But this is just a jumping-off point. Soon we are in Dalton, Georgia, the most Spanish-speaking town in the Deep South, and in Rupert, Idaho, where the most popular radio DJ is known as "El Chupacabras." By the end of the book, we have traveled from the geographical extremes into the heartland, exploring the familiar complexities of Cuban Miami and the brand-new ones of a busy Omaha INS station.

Sophisticated, provocative, and deeply human, Translation Nation uncovers the ways that Hispanic Americans are forging new identities, redefining the experience of the American immigrant, and reinventing the American community. It is a book that rises, brilliantly, to meet one of the most profound shifts in American identity.

Review:

"The nation's growing Hispanic population constitutes a 'Latin Republic of the United States,' contends this engrossing survey of Latino America. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tobar chronicles the surge in Central American immigrants to a Los Angeles where 'Oliver Twist had escaped from London and was now a Spanish-speaking Angeleno in the age of crack'; listens in on the debate among Cuban exiles over Elin Gonzalez; and interviews undocumented migrants about to brave the ferociously defended Tijuana border crossings. He also follows Latinos, and their influence, into the heartland, finding a well-settled immigrant community in Dalton, Ga.; Nebraska corn farmers vying for the tortilla market; and a white Anglo Mormon who reinvents himself as a Mexican deejay for an Idaho Spanish-language radio station. Tobar insists that, thanks to their great numbers and easy access to cultural wellsprings in nearby homelands, Latinos will avoid assimilation. But he struggles to define the self-confident 'Latinoness' he believes will 'change the course of American history,' locating it variously in a supposed resistance to 'good, Protestant, money-making order'; a rejection of cultural boundaries; a taste for bright colors; and the iconography of Che Guevara. These don't really amount to the Tocquevillean insights he's aiming for, but Tobar's nuanced reportage vividly conveys the complexity and pathos of the Latino experience." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In plain, stirring prose, this landmark documentary brings close the universals of exodus and displacement, as Tobar reveals the unsettling particulars of Americans who are restless and always longing for home, whatever that is." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"...Tobar does a magnificent job of portraying the "contradiction and possibility" contained in the words una nacion unida. A plea for transnational identity in the spirit of Tobar's hero, Che Guevara." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"An essential and illuminating read...full of discoveries..." San Diego Union-Tribune

Review:

"Translation Nation comes close by giving these nameless masses who cross our borders daily a human face. But Tobar never tells us what to do about them." Miami Herald

Review:

"One of the book's true gems is Tobar's gifted, breezy writing style. His eye for detail intertwined with the storytelling skills of a novelist elevate his story beyond the usual immigrant tale...." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Book News Annotation:

Los Angeles-born novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tobar has served as an L.A.-based correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and currently lives in Argentina where he is the paper's Buenos Aires bureau chief. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he draws on his own experiences of growing up in L.A. and reporting about the Hispanic community in this semi-autobiographical look at the expanding Spanish-speaking population and how it is changing the face of communities across the U.S. No subject index.
Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar takes readers on the definitive tour of the Spanish-speaking United States — a parallel nation, 35 million strong, that is changing the very notion of what it means to be an American in unprecedented and unexpected ways.

Synopsis:

In the national bestseller Translation Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar takes us on the definitive tour of the Spanish-speaking United States—a parallel nation, 35 million strong, that is changing the very notion of what it means to be an American in unprecedented and unexpected ways.

Tobar begins on familiar terrain, in his native Los Angeles, with his family's story, along with that of two brothers of Mexican origin with very different interpretations of Americanismo, or American identity as seen through a Latin American lens—one headed for U.S. citizenship and the other for the wrong side of the law and the south side of the border. But this is just a jumping-off point. Soon we are in Dalton, Georgia, the most Spanish-speaking town in the Deep South, and in Rupert, Idaho, where the most popular radio DJ is known as "El Chupacabras." By the end of the book, we have traveled from the geographical extremes into the heartland, exploring the familiar complexities of Cuban Miami and the brand-new ones of a busy Omaha INS station.

Sophisticated, provocative, and deeply human, Translation Nation uncovers the ways that Hispanic Americans are forging new identities, redefining the experience of the American immigrant, and reinventing the American community. It is a book that rises, brilliantly, to meet one of the most profound shifts in American identity.

Synopsis:

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar takes us on the definitive tour of the Spanish-speaking United States-a parallel nation, 35 million strong, that is changing the very notion of what it means to be an American in unprecedented and unexpected ways.

The year 2005 will mark Latino-Americans' first year as the largest minority in the United States. By the middle of the century, Spanish-speaking Americans will make up 25 percent of the population. Never before has a group been as poised to make so substantial an impact on American culture and identity. And not just in California and Texas-but also in Georgia, Alabama, New York, and Idaho. As a Guatemalan-American journalist, Héctor Tobar has grown up with and chronicled this parallel nation, surrounded by its people and their collective experiences, complexities, and contradictions. In Translation Nation he introduces us to its past, the present-and our future.

Tobar begins on familiar terrain, in his native Los Angeles, with his family's story, along with that of two brothers of Mexican origin with very different interpretations of Americanismo, or American identity as seen through a Latin American lens-one headed for U.S. citizenship and the other for the wrong side of the law and the south side of the border. But this is just a jumping-off point. Soon we are in Dalton, Georgia, the most Spanish-speaking town in the Deep South, and in Rupert, Idaho, where the most popular radio DJ is known as "El Chupacabras." By the end of the book, we have traveled from the geographical extremes into the heartland, exploring the familiar complexities of Cuban Miami and the brand-new ones of a busy Omaha INS station.

Sophisticated, provocative, and deeply human, Translation Nation uncovers the ways that Hispanic Americans are forging new identities, redefining the experience of the American immigrant, and reinventing the American community. It is a book that rises, brilliantly, to meet one of the most profound shifts in American identity.

About the Author

The son of Guatemalan immigrants, Héctor Tobar is a National Correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and was part of the writing team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 riots. He holds an MFA from the University of California at Irvine and lives in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Part One: Crossings

Chapter One: Americanismo: City of Peasants

Los Angeles, California

Chapter Two: Where Green Chiles Roam: No es imposible

San Ysidro, California; Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Chapter Three: Brother Citizen, Brother Alien: Sin fronteras

Watts, California; Ameca, Jalisco, Mexico

Part Two: Pioneers and Pilgrimage

Chapter Four: The Wanderers: El destierro

Ashland, Alabama; McAllen, Texas; Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico

Chapter Five: In the Land of the New: En la tierra de lo nuevo

Dalton, Georgia; Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico; Memphis, Tennessee

Chapter Six: Our Secret Latin Heartland: Los secretos del machote

Rupert, Idaho; Frankenmuth, Michigan; Grand Island, Nebraska; Liberal, Kansas

Part Three: Manifest Destinies

Chapter Seven: Unconquered: La reconquista

Cordova, New Mexico; San Fernando, California; San Antonio, Texas

Chapter Eight: The Old Men and the Boy: Los balseros

Miami, Florida

Chapter Nine: Fathers, Daughters, Citizens, and Strongwomen: El hombre y el orgullo

Barstow, Los Angeles, Bell Gardens, Maywood, Watts, and South Gate, California

Part Four: E Pluribus Unum

Chapter Ten: Una Nación Unida: Heroes of Another Fatherland

El Reno, Oklahoma; San Juan, Puerto Rico; New York, New York; Baghdad, Iraq

Epilogue: Che and the Three Monkeys: Che y los tres monos

La Higuera, Bolivia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Los Angelos; California; Ashland, Alabama

Acknowledgments

Notes

Product Details

ISBN:
9781573223058
Author:
Tobar, Hector
Publisher:
Riverhead Hardcover
Subject:
Ethnic relations
Subject:
Hispanic americans
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - Hispanic American Studies
Subject:
American
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Ethnic Studies
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20050421
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.24x6.36x1.06 in. 1.16 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Latin American

Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States Used Hardcover
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$5.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781573223058 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The nation's growing Hispanic population constitutes a 'Latin Republic of the United States,' contends this engrossing survey of Latino America. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tobar chronicles the surge in Central American immigrants to a Los Angeles where 'Oliver Twist had escaped from London and was now a Spanish-speaking Angeleno in the age of crack'; listens in on the debate among Cuban exiles over Elin Gonzalez; and interviews undocumented migrants about to brave the ferociously defended Tijuana border crossings. He also follows Latinos, and their influence, into the heartland, finding a well-settled immigrant community in Dalton, Ga.; Nebraska corn farmers vying for the tortilla market; and a white Anglo Mormon who reinvents himself as a Mexican deejay for an Idaho Spanish-language radio station. Tobar insists that, thanks to their great numbers and easy access to cultural wellsprings in nearby homelands, Latinos will avoid assimilation. But he struggles to define the self-confident 'Latinoness' he believes will 'change the course of American history,' locating it variously in a supposed resistance to 'good, Protestant, money-making order'; a rejection of cultural boundaries; a taste for bright colors; and the iconography of Che Guevara. These don't really amount to the Tocquevillean insights he's aiming for, but Tobar's nuanced reportage vividly conveys the complexity and pathos of the Latino experience." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "In plain, stirring prose, this landmark documentary brings close the universals of exodus and displacement, as Tobar reveals the unsettling particulars of Americans who are restless and always longing for home, whatever that is."
"Review" by , "...Tobar does a magnificent job of portraying the "contradiction and possibility" contained in the words una nacion unida. A plea for transnational identity in the spirit of Tobar's hero, Che Guevara."
"Review" by , "An essential and illuminating read...full of discoveries..."
"Review" by , "Translation Nation comes close by giving these nameless masses who cross our borders daily a human face. But Tobar never tells us what to do about them."
"Review" by , "One of the book's true gems is Tobar's gifted, breezy writing style. His eye for detail intertwined with the storytelling skills of a novelist elevate his story beyond the usual immigrant tale...."
"Synopsis" by , Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar takes readers on the definitive tour of the Spanish-speaking United States — a parallel nation, 35 million strong, that is changing the very notion of what it means to be an American in unprecedented and unexpected ways.
"Synopsis" by ,

In the national bestseller Translation Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar takes us on the definitive tour of the Spanish-speaking United States—a parallel nation, 35 million strong, that is changing the very notion of what it means to be an American in unprecedented and unexpected ways.

Tobar begins on familiar terrain, in his native Los Angeles, with his family's story, along with that of two brothers of Mexican origin with very different interpretations of Americanismo, or American identity as seen through a Latin American lens—one headed for U.S. citizenship and the other for the wrong side of the law and the south side of the border. But this is just a jumping-off point. Soon we are in Dalton, Georgia, the most Spanish-speaking town in the Deep South, and in Rupert, Idaho, where the most popular radio DJ is known as "El Chupacabras." By the end of the book, we have traveled from the geographical extremes into the heartland, exploring the familiar complexities of Cuban Miami and the brand-new ones of a busy Omaha INS station.

Sophisticated, provocative, and deeply human, Translation Nation uncovers the ways that Hispanic Americans are forging new identities, redefining the experience of the American immigrant, and reinventing the American community. It is a book that rises, brilliantly, to meet one of the most profound shifts in American identity.

"Synopsis" by ,

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar takes us on the definitive tour of the Spanish-speaking United States-a parallel nation, 35 million strong, that is changing the very notion of what it means to be an American in unprecedented and unexpected ways.

The year 2005 will mark Latino-Americans' first year as the largest minority in the United States. By the middle of the century, Spanish-speaking Americans will make up 25 percent of the population. Never before has a group been as poised to make so substantial an impact on American culture and identity. And not just in California and Texas-but also in Georgia, Alabama, New York, and Idaho. As a Guatemalan-American journalist, Héctor Tobar has grown up with and chronicled this parallel nation, surrounded by its people and their collective experiences, complexities, and contradictions. In Translation Nation he introduces us to its past, the present-and our future.

Tobar begins on familiar terrain, in his native Los Angeles, with his family's story, along with that of two brothers of Mexican origin with very different interpretations of Americanismo, or American identity as seen through a Latin American lens-one headed for U.S. citizenship and the other for the wrong side of the law and the south side of the border. But this is just a jumping-off point. Soon we are in Dalton, Georgia, the most Spanish-speaking town in the Deep South, and in Rupert, Idaho, where the most popular radio DJ is known as "El Chupacabras." By the end of the book, we have traveled from the geographical extremes into the heartland, exploring the familiar complexities of Cuban Miami and the brand-new ones of a busy Omaha INS station.

Sophisticated, provocative, and deeply human, Translation Nation uncovers the ways that Hispanic Americans are forging new identities, redefining the experience of the American immigrant, and reinventing the American community. It is a book that rises, brilliantly, to meet one of the most profound shifts in American identity.

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