Gentle cabrones: Behold my annual Mexican Christmas guide, where I recommend the best Mexi-themed libros for you to give to your loved ones this Navidad. Buy them at your local bookstore or order online, but do buy!
F*ck Cancer: The True Story of How Robert the Bold Kicked Cancer’s Ass. Robert Flores, a butcher, wrote this hilarious, gritty memoir about surviving stage IV colon cancer. Perfect for the cancer survivor in your family, or anyone who appreciates Chicano desmadre. (Roberttheboldstore.etsy.com.)
Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. My mentor-friend Sam Quinones tells a chilling two-part story about how gabacho America got hooked on heroin — on one hand, from pharmaceuticals; on the other mano, via Mexicans from Nayarit.
The Chili Cookbook: A History of the One-Pot Classic, with Cook-off Worthy Recipes from Three-Bean to Four-Alarm and Con Carne to Vegetarian. A Texas-sized name worthy of another mentor friend, Robb Walsh, the greatest chronicler of Tex-Mex cuisine ever.
Californio Lancers: The 1st Battalion of Native Cavalry in the Far West, 1863 -1866. Next time a Trump supporter says that Mexicans don’t fight for this country, point him to this work from the University of Oklahoma Press. A fascinating tale of Californios —Mexicans conquered by the U.S. during the Mexican-American War — serving the Union.
¡Corrido!: The Living Ballad of Mexico’s Western Coast. The University of New Mexico Press returns with another stunning songbook, this one on the musical traditions of Mexico’s Costa Chica and Costa Grande region.
Shameful Victory: The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Scare, and the Hidden History of Chavez Ravine. Everyone has a vague idea of how Los Angeles leaders kicked out a bunch of Mexicans to build Dodger Stadium. But this University of Arizona Press release tells the tale in all of its shameful details.
The Chicano Generation: Testimonios of the Movement. Mario T. Garcia is the most influential Chicano Studies scholar you’ve never heard of, as well as that rare academic who can actually write. For his latest University of California book, he provides in-depth conversations with unsung Los Angeles activists.
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Images of the Mexican American in Fiction and Film. Your oldie-but-goodie pick for the year. The late Arthur G. Pettit documents how Americans have ruthlessly stereotyped Mexis since the 1830s with tropes that still exist today.
Los Lobos: Dream in Blue. Leave it to the University of Texas Press to publish the first book on the Chicano rock gods. Now, if only I could get on their regular mailing list...HA!
¡Ask a Mexican!, Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. Because...duh!