Library Journal Review
Hispanic peoples and cultures have shaped North America for 500 years, ever since Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León landed in what is today Florida in 1513. Gibson (Empire's Crossroads) delivers a timely reminder that Anglos are but one European wellspring of U.S. national identity. With insight and verve, the author weaves the myriad Hispanic/Latino influences on North American histories and cultures, addressing everything from immigration, wars, civil rights, tacos, and salsa, along with figures such as Fidel Castro and Cesar Chavez. She further recounts stories elided from public memory, chronicling mass lynchings of Mexicans in Texas; uprisings and bombings waged by Puerto Rican nationalists; and the history of Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood, home to Cuban émigrés long before Miami's Little Havana. Gibson contends that Anglos and Hispanics share the same centuries-old story of North America-a memory vital for our time of border walls and racist rhetoric. Few historians have attempted so sweeping and holistic a survey. Though Gibson can be more detailed about political events than the intersection of Anglo and Hispanic cultures, her evidence is clear: Latin America includes North America. VERDICT A thorough, relevant, and insightful survey of Hispanic North America.-Michael Rodriguez, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Historian Gibson (Empire's Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day) provides a sweeping and accessible survey of the Hispanic history of the U.S. that illuminates the integral impact of the Spanish and their descendants on the U.S.'s social and cultural development. In contrast to the widespread downplaying of this history in favor of Anglo-American perspectives, Gibson recognizes the country as "part of a larger Latin American community." Gibson uses this inventive and appealing lens to guide readers chronologically from the initial European incursions into the Western hemisphere to the present day. Focusing primarily on Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, the main topics covered are Spanish colonization (often violent) and evangelizing (which was "bound up with the colonization project for Spain and Portugal from the beginning"), the creation of Latin American republics, U.S. territorial expansion, immigration, challenges faced by Latin Americans in the U.S. (including housing discrimination, immigration raids, and prejudiced treatment in the military), and how Hispanic racial, ethnic, and cultural identities are interpreted in the Americas). Though it doesn't present new research, this unusual and insightful work provides a welcome and thought-provoking angle on the country's history, and should be widely appreciated. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Gibson (Empire's Crossroads, 2014) has written an ambitious history of the U.S. that focuses on the country's often overlooked Hispanic origins. Her quest begins in the present day Mexican border town of Nogales, Arizona, and comes almost full circle to her hometown, Dalton, Georgia, where Mexican immigration has brought profound changes. Gibson covers five centuries of events, people, and immense cultural shifts, from the Spanish conquistadors' exploits in Mexico, Florida, and the Atlantic coast to the wars and growing pains of independence to the significant U.S. expansion according to so-called manifest destiny to the upheavals of the twentieth century. Throughout, Gibson gives full personhood to indigenous groups and tribes, placing their experiences in context, and she takes care to elucidate the evolving concept of race and the toxic trope of the U.S. as a white nation, an idea that stubbornly refuses to fade, resurfacing in our own divisive times. The chapter on Texas offers a key reminder that at one time Anglos themselves were illegal aliens, defiantly ignoring Mexico's laws against slavery. Well-organized and containing useful maps, a time line, selected bibliography, and notes, Gibson's exhaustively researched and well-written chronicle is an essential acquisition for all American history collections.--Sara Martinez Copyright 2019 Booklist