Translation Nation

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

Hector Tobar - Author

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ISBN 9781594481765 | 368 pages | 04 Apr 2006 | Riverhead | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
Summary of Translation Nation Summary of Translation Nation Reviews for Translation Nation An Excerpt from Translation Nation

"Tobar vividly and movingly captures the conflict between the immigrant ideal to which America has always aspired and the presiding white culture's deep ambivalence about the immigrant presence." —The New York Times Book Review

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.

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


[Makes] the tremendous diversity, dynamism and geographical breadth of our blossoming Hispanic population come alive. (Ruy Telxeira, The Washington Post Book World)

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