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Search tags: mexico
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review 2017-07-24 01:17
Ride the Pink Horse-Atmospheric noir
Ride the Pink Horse - Dorothy B. Hughes

Ride the Pink Horse is all about atmosphere.  You see the whole setting and the characters in black and white as you read.  You can smell the sweat and you can feel the heat. Along with the sweat and the heat, the feeling of anxiety, helplessness, and despair are palpable.  I’d never read anything by Dorothy B. Hughes before, but this story shows her to be a master of the noir genre.  My highest compliment to a book is that you are there while reading it and this one puts you there. It wouldn’t have worked anywhere but in the time and place that Hughes put it. The setting, a fiesta in New Mexico, is as clear as if you were watching it on television.  The reader is deeply inside the head of the protagonist, a petty thief from Chicago.  You find yourself feeling anxious along with him and hoping for the downfall of the crime boss (a senator) that he is pursuing. 

This book is of its time and there are some racist passages so read it with the understanding that it was published in 1946. 

This book was provided by Netgalley which does not affect my honest review and rating of it.

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review 2017-06-20 01:03
Academic but interesting group that does not get much coverage.
The Chinese in Mexico, 1882-1940 - Rober... The Chinese in Mexico, 1882-1940 - Robert Chao Romero

In light of immigration remaining a hot topic, I finally decided to purchase this book that talks about what it says on the tin: the Chinese in Mexico. A few years ago I read a couple of articles (on the Huffington Post and NPR I think) about the presence of Chinese people in Mexico and how that group came to be. I've heard of Chinese people coming to the US but what drew them to Mexico?

 

Turns out the immigration laws and the Chinese Exclusion Act in the US led to "collateral damage" of sorts, where Chinese people (mostly men) settled in Mexico instead. The book looks at how and why these Chinese immigrants came to Mexico, some intentionally, others because they could not get into the US. How they built businesses, how they managed movement between Mexico, the US and China, how they dealt with Sinophobia, how they integrated with the locals, etc.

 

Overall it was fascinating. A mostly unintended consequence (perhaps) of the US immigration laws led to the creation of this community that was interesting to learn about. It was also sad to see that the same experiences of immigrants happen to the Chinese there: some were resented for their business success, their children were considered not Mexican, eventually a group of them would be driven out of one part of Mexico. It's a story that we have seen happening before and it happens again.

 

 

I also wish the author had brought up the book to more "modern" times. As the cover says, it's from about 1882-1940. The book was published in 2011 so I was disappointed not to see more about present day or at least a little closer to it. He does have some thoughts on how to integrate discussing a group like these Chinese-Mexicans into college courses and so I hope there will be more work/articles about them.

 

That said, the book is dry. The topic kept me interested because I really wanted to learn more after reading those articles but this book would very much be a text for a college program. I wish I could have picked it up at the library or found it as a bargain buy but even the used versions that I could find were not all that much cheaper. But I wanted to know and so I'm glad I had a chance to read it. 

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review 2017-05-05 19:51
Mexico DNF review
Mexico: Stories - Josh Barkan Mexico: Stories - Josh Barkan

There's very little I liked about the first three stories I read. My main problem is I do not connect with the way Barkan writes. Sad to say, because the ideas behind the stories themselves were interesting. The delivery just isn't my thing. I have no want in my heart to pick this up again, so I'm not going to. 

 

I'm giving this two stars instead of one because it's not garbage. It's simply not my thing.

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review 2016-12-29 04:38
Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
Enrique's Journey - Sonia Nazario

This would be a great book club choice. It's gripping, it's a very quick read despite being nonfiction (large font and generous margins make it feel shorter than its 260 pages), and of course it's about a hot topic: illegal immigration to the U.S. from Latin America. The protagonist, Enrique, sets off from Honduras for the U.S. at age 17, searching for his mother, who immigrated twelve years before. The book primarily dramatizes Enrique's dangerous journey through Mexico - jumping on and off of moving trains and evading corrupt and often violent authorities, who seek to deport Central American migrants to Guatemala, as well as the gangs who prey on migrants. All this makes for compelling reading, and is eye-opening; in the U.S. we have little sense of what people have to risk and endure to enter the country illegally. Nazario also writes about the circumstances in Honduras that compel so many to immigrate - for many mothers, it's a matter of not being able to feed their children - and about Enrique's family's lives in the U.S. And she interviews quite a few people who work with or encounter migrants, adding depth to the story.

So I probably should urge all Americans to read this. But. The writing style is a bit simplistic. The present tense is an awkward choice for nonfiction, and the author has the tendency to remind us of simple facts several times over. A bit more context would have helped too. In introducing her project, Nazario explains she wanted to write about a Central American boy who came by train. But the book doesn't give much sense of how many migrants use the trains vs. other routes, and the focus on the train journeys of Central American migrants leaves little sense of what immigration might look like for the Mexicans who make up the majority of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Finally, while perhaps the story can speak for itself, I felt a stronger policy argument at the end would have been appropriate. Instead the author basically says, "okay, now here are some good things and some bad things about immigration," and then it ends.

I still think people should read this, because if you're going to have a strong opinion about something you should be informed about it. But if you can recommend a better book along the same lines, please let me know.

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review 2016-12-09 19:01
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics - Jason Porath Short form: this book is awesome and every home and classroom should have a copy. Long form: This was a whim. I just picked it up because it had a fun cover and title, but once I started reading it I couldn’t bear to put it down. The introduction is amusing, the art is spot on, and the stories are delightful. Well, many of them have violence and heinous cruelty, or just plain gore, but Porath forewarns the reader with some very specific codes. And when he’s writing about the evil that is lynching he doesn’t shrink from sharing the horror. But also, whenever there is a specific named villain in the piece, he comes up with some amusing expletives. Somehow he manages to hit a sweet spot between maintaining a light tone and historical accuracy, and he manages to do it in both the text and the art. Even when he gives these women enormous Disney eyes he makes sure to get the period details right: you know he isn’t mocking these women, he’s taking them seriously but not striving for an imagined objectivity. And then there are art notes on many of the illustrations, which explain details one might miss and their significance. Dude has found his calling and I hope he sells beaucoup books and can continue to devote his time and energy to the project. I love this like I haven’t loved any history since Lies My Teacher Told Me. It only just hit me that the reason I loved this book so much was that I really needed to read about kick-ass women who got shit done and had fun and/or really improved their world. Library copy
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