The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The Making of a Chicano Mzlitant. By Jose Angel Guti6rrez. (Madison: University
of Wisonsin Press, 1998. Pp. xi+x34. Illustrations, preface, introduction,
appendix, index. ISBN 0-299-15984-1. $19.95, paper.)
Growing up can be a painful experience that leaves lifelong impressions. This
is particularly true if one is exposed to the kind of social and political oppres-
sion, poverty, and violence at the hands of law enforcement officials that Jos6
Angel Gutierrez witnessed and experienced growing up in Crystal City, Texas. In
his book, The Making of a Chicano Militant, Guti6rrez takes the reader on an excit-
ing, albeit painful, journey from the segregated, racist confines of Crystal City,
Texas, in the 1950s to the excitement of the heady days of the Chicano Move-
ment, including the rise and fall of Raza Unida in the 1970s and beyond.
Writing with passion, Guti6rrez keeps the reader on the edge of his or her seat.
Even for the informed reader who has a general understanding of Chicano his-
tory, the book is still engrossing. Thus Guti6rrez sheds new light on salient issues
that have been addressed by other scholars, such as the emergence of a political
movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and the successes brought about by the
courage and determination of those involved in el movzmiento, as well as divisions
both within the Mexican American community and the movement itself.
One of the book's major strengths lies in Gutidrrez's brutal honesty and lucid,
descriptive writing. The reader can almost hear, for example, the intended vio-
lence in questions barked at first-time Chicano voters in Crystal City like: "Are you a
citizen?" "Can you speak English?" "Where is your poll tax receipt?" "Where
do you work?" This last question was most threatening because it implied
potential, yet unspoken repercussions for voting wrongly, or even voting at all.
There are, however, some potential drawbacks to this writing style. Gutierrez
occasionally makes bold assertions without supporting evidence (as when he dis-
cusses population distribution in the public schools). Additionally, all readers
will not necessarily embrace Gutidrrez's assessment of prominent Anglo and
Mexican American organizations and politicians. He harshly rebukes, for exam-
ple, prominent, often revered politicians like Henry B. Gonzalez, Eulogio "Kika"
de la Garza, Edward Roybal, and others. LULAC and the American G.I. Forum
are sometimes portrayed almost as if they were traitors.
But Gutierrez tells a story that is honest, straightforward, and vitally important
for scholars and students of all ages and backgrounds to understand. His autobi-
ography is a novel and priceless contribution to the field of Chicano history.
Ultimately, the lack of citations and adequate evidence in various places distracts
more than it detracts from the value of the book. Gutierrez never intended for
this work to be a detailed, scientific analysis of Chicano history. Gutierrez,
instead, tells the story of how a young man growing up in South Texas became a
leading militant activist. In this sense, the book succeeds magnificently.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Anthony Quiroz
Lone Star Bishops: The Roman Catholic Hierarchy in Texas. By Franklin C. Williams
Jr. (Waco: Texian Press, 1997. Pp. xi+621. Preface, introduction, abbrevia-

628

April

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed July 26, 2014.