Synopses & Reviews
Twentieth-century Los Angeles has been the locus of one of the most profound and complex interactions between variant cultures in American history. Yet this study is among the first to examine the relationship between ethnicity and identity among the largest immigrant group to that city. By focusing on Mexican immigrants to Los Angeles from 1900 to 1945, George J. Sánchez explores the process by which temporary sojourners altered their orientation to that of permanent residents, thereby laying the foundation for a new Mexican-American culture. Analyzing not only formal programs aimed at these newcomers by the United States and Mexico, but also the world created by these immigrants through family networks, religious practice, musical entertainment, and work and consumption patterns, Sánchez uncovers the creative ways Mexicans adapted their culture to life in the United States. When a formal repatriation campaign pushed thousands to return to Mexico, those remaining in Los Angeles launched new campaigns to gain civil rights as ethnic Americans through labor unions and New Deal politics. The immigrant generation, therefore, laid the groundwork for the emerging Mexican-American identity of their children.
"Becoming Mexican American makes a significant contribution to Chicano historiography through its examination of the dynamics of Mexican American life in Los Angeles....Sánchez should be praised for this important and carefully written book. It is a dynamic portrayal of the social and political transformation of Mexican immigrants into a well-defined Mexican American community in Los Angeles."--New Mexico Historical Review
"A fascinating and richly textured study of Chicanos in the urban setting of Los Angeles....It is...the best study available on the experiences of the Mexicans in Los Angeles, especially on their struggle for equality and justice."--ILWCH
"Monumental....Inviting reading....A consummate scholar and masterful storyteller, Sánchez rediscovers the missing threads and restores the vibrant colors in the fabric of Los Angeles."--Los Angeles Times
"A brilliant historical study of Hispanic asimilation, resistance, and self-reflection in Los Angeles."--Tikkun
"Becoming Mexican American is a remarkable chronicle of Mexican history and influence in the United States. Written with a compelling combination of heart and insight, this study rounds out and redefines the role of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Chicanos from our nation's past. In Becoming Mexican American George Sánchez has narrowed a mighty void in American history."--Xavier Becerra, Member of Congress, 30th District, California
Twentieth century Los Angeles has been the focus of one of the most profound and complex interactions between distinct cultures in U.S. history. In this pioneering study, Sanchez explores how Mexican immigrants "Americanized" themselves in order to fit in, thereby losing part of their own culture.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 327-349) and index.
About the Author
George J. Sanchez
in Associate Professor of History, University of Southern California.