The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991

Book Reviews

more able to support their populations . . . than in the past" (p. 151).
Offering several levels of explanation for the failure, she ends with an
emphasis on conflict between this New Deal in New Mexico and "Ameri-
can social and economic orthodoxy" (p. 176). Her definition of that or-
thodoxy suggests to me that it was the pervasive culture of capitalism
that ultimately defeated the Hispanic New Deal.
University of Washington RICHARD S. KIRKENDALL
Mexican Americans: Leadership, Ideology, and Identzty, 1930-1960. By
Mario T. Garcia. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.
Pp. xi+364. Acknowledgments, illustrations, notes on sources,
notes, index. $35.)
For the past fifteen years, the most exciting historical research in the
southwestern United States has focused upon Mexican society and cul-
ture in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. These works have
exposed the extractive nature of the southwestern economy and have
demonstrated how that economy has relied upon-and exploited-
Mexican labor from the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo to the present.
Chicano historiography is revisionist history at its best, challenging en-
trenched assumptions about the "democratic" nature of the western
frontier and revealing the deep divisions of race and class that continue
to plague the region.
The publication of Mario Garcia's Mexzcan Americans represents a
new and welcome stage in the development of that research. During
the 196os, many Chicano activists denounced the preceding generation
of Mexican American intellectuals and political leaders as "accommoda-
tionists" who turned their backs on Mexican culture and fought weakly,
if at all, for the rights of Mexican American citizens and Mexican na-
tionals in the United States. Garcia, a major revisionist historian him-
self, now challenges that perception with admirable breadth and thor-
oughness. He demonstrates that both middle-class and working-class
leaders of the "Mexican American Generation"-the generation that
came of age from the 1930s to the 1950os-struggled long and hard
against discrimination in the schools, the workplace, and other impor-
tant arenas. Most were reformers rather than radicals. They favored
integration rather than separation from the rest of U.S. society. None-
theless, organizations ranging from the middle-class League of United
Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to the International Union of Mine,
Mill and Smelter Workers set the stage for the succeeding Chicano
Generation who often overlooked or rejected their legacy.
The book itself is divided into three parts: "The Middle Class," "La-
bor and the Left," and "Mexican-American Intellectuals." It is regional

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/. Accessed March 6, 2015.