Synopses & Reviews
The slogan “Yes we can”—in the form “¡Sí Se Puede!”—doesn’t originate with Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. It goes back more than four decades to the heyday of the United Farm Workers, an organization that at its height won many labor victories, secured collective bargaining rights for California farm workers and became a major voice for the Latino community, which was previously excluded from national politics. The UFW was once a transformative political force of a kind now largely lost in contemporary America.
Trampling Out the Vintage is the authoritative account of the rise and fall of the United Farm Workers and its most famous and controversial leader, Cesar Chavez. Based on many years of interviews—with farm workers, organizers, and the opponents and friends of the UFW—the book tells a story of collective action and empowerment rich in evocative detail and stirring human interest. Beginning with the influence of the ideas of Saul Alinsky and Catholic Social Action at the union’s founding, through the UFW’s thrilling triumphs in the California fields, the drama concludes with the debilitating internal struggles that left the union a shadow of its former self.
A vivid rendering of farm work and the world of the farm worker, Trampling Out the Vintage is a dramatic reappraisal of the political trajectory of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers and an essential re-evaluation of their most tumultuous years.
There's so much marvelous stuff in Frank Bardacke's book that's simply not been done before. At the book's core are the men and women who pick the crops in California's fields and orchards. Bardacke gives those people, mostly seen only in distant fields, a huge presence, one crackling with political vitality: those surges the UFW had no idea were coming; those moments when a strike spread like wildfire across the fields. Here are the farm workers, their skill and endurance, the world they built among themselves, the ways they shaped the history of the UFW. It is their story--refreshingly, sympathetically, and beautifully told--that makes this book stand apart and will make it stand forever. Alex Cockburn
"A radically honest, uncompromising and often painful deconstruction of the legend of Cesar Chavez, Trampling Out the Vintage is one of the long-awaited books of our time. Bardacke's account evokes the spirit of Steinbeck, resurrecting the true heroes of La Causa--the rank-and-file fieldworkers--and reminding us that the grapes of wrath still remain to be harvested for social justice." Mike Davis, author of < em=""> Planet of Slums < m=""> and < em=""> CIty of Quartz < m="">
"Frank Bardacke's long-awaited masterpiece is the kind of book that comes along only once in a generation. Not only is the research spectacular and his analysis of the United Farm Workers as a social movement nuanced and compelling, but he finally places rank-and-file farmworkers at the center of the story as savvy and opinionated activists. Best of all, he's a superb writer who's constructed a gripping tale." Dana Frank, Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz
The slogan "Yes we can!"--in the form "¡Sí Se Puede!"--predates Obama's 2008 presidential campaign by more than four decades. it was the coinage of the United Farm Workers' cofounder César Chávez: a man who led his organization to many victories and secured collective bargaining rights for California farm workers. A charismatic leader who continues to inspire much controversy, Chávez built the United Farm Workers into a major force and a voice for the Mexican-American community, previously excluded from national politics.
A dramatic new history of César Chávez and the rise and fall of the United Farm Workers.
About the Author
Frank Bardacke was active in the student and anti-war movements in Berkeley in the 1960s. He moved to California’s Central Coast in 1970, worked for six seasons in the Salinas Valley fields, and taught at Watsonville Adult School for twenty-five years. He is the author of Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers, Good Liberals and Great Blue Herons: Land, Labor and Politics in the Pajaro Valley, and a translator of Shadows of Tender Fury: The Letters and Communiqués of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.