The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977

Book Reviews

serve as a model for future work on the hacienda and its role in Latin
American history.
University of Texas at Arlington SANDRA L. MYRES
By the Sweat of Their Brow: Mexican Immigrant Labor in the United
States, 1900-1940. By Mark Reisler. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood
Press, 1976. Pp. xiii+ 298. Preface, appendix, bibliography, index.
Based heavily on research conducted in archives, this well-written and
insightful book is an important contribution to the study of Mexican labor
in the United States. Although substantial numbers of Mexican nationals
have been employed in this country since the early years of this century,
American scholars have only recently begun focusing serious attention on
this subject. Particularly neglected have been the pre-1940 years covered
by this book.
Perhaps the greatest contribution of the present study lies in its coverage
of three facets of pre-1940 Mexican labor that have been among the most
ignored of all. First, it contains a splendid chapter on the formal Mexican
labor program inaugurated by the United States government during World
War I. Second, the book covers Mexican repatriation during the depres-
sion of 1921-1922. Third, it devotes considerable attention to the union-
ization of Mexican farm workers in the Southwest during the Great De-
pression of the I930s.
Other topics receiving serious attention are Mexicans in southwestern
agriculture, Mexican industrial workers (particularly in the Midwest),
recruitment of Mexican labor prior to 1916, the political struggle to sharp-
ly limit Mexican immigration during the 192o0s, and repatriation during
the Great Depression.
The only notable weakness in the book lies in its tendency toward over-
generalization in Chapter 6 ("The Anglo Perception of the Mexican
Worker"). Relying heavily on materials illustrating stereotypes held by
individual Americans, the book generalizes about stereotypes held by "most
Americans" (p. I31), "Americans generally" (p. I34), "Americans
throughout the country" (p. I34), and "the overwhelming majority" of
Americans (p. 143). Despite this methodological weakness, the chapter's
presentation of numerous examples of stereotyped attitudes toward Mexi-
can workers is both informative and perceptive.
This book should meet a considerable range of academic needs. Under-
graduates will find it to be eminently readable. Yet it contains an abun-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed July 5, 2015.