The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 106
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
activists, but it is Carol Hardy-Fanta who reminds us that most studies still "do
not mention women except in tangential ways." Even in this collection, not one
of the other contributors looks at the role of gender, whether the author is cit-
ing a winning Latina candidate or examining patterns of political activism.
Overall, however, this admirable collection will benefit everyone concerned with
Latino issues or, indeed, with public policy issues in general.
Manhattan College Julie Leininger Pycior
Border People: Life and Society in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. By Oscar J. Martinez.
(Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1994. Pp. 353. Figures, tables,
acknowledgments, introduction, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-8165-
1396-1. $50.00, cloth.)
Oscar Martinez's study, Border People, examines how peoples' lives have been
shaped by the U.S.-Mexico borderland environment and social system. He focus-
es on the border corridors of San Diego-Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez-El Paso, and
Brownsville-Matamoros, "where the U.S.-Mexico symbiotic complexes are situat-
ed" (p. xviii). Following a brief introductory chapter in which Martinez discusses
the concept of borderlands in the global setting, the book is divided into three
In Part I, Chapter One, the author attempts to identify and locate the politi-
cal, social, and cultural forces that shape the lives and interactions of the people
with their environment. Chapter Two explores the historical evolution and
development of the U.S. and Mexican borderlands from the sixteenth century
until the present time.
Part II (Chapters Three through Five) presents three separate "typologies," or
abstractions of the general characteristics of three major population groups liv-
ing along the border regions: Mexican (Mexican nationals); Mexican-Americans
(people of Mexican heritage living permanently in the United States); and
Anglo-Americans (people of white European extract residing permanently in
the U.S.). I agree with the author's concession that "my analysis . . . involves a
certain degree of arbitrariness and simplification, which is the case with most
classification schemes" (p. 65); the typologies tend to make the book conceptu-
ally confusing in places.
Part III (Chapters Six through Eight) is reminiscent of Studs Terkel's oral his-
tories. In this engrossing case-history section, Martinez asks individuals, "what
has border living meant to you?" Immigrants, border patrol officers, workers,
Mexican officials, and business people tell of their real-life experiences. Several
major themes emerge from the stories, including "cross-border migration, inter-
dependence, labor, border management, ethnic confrontation and social
activism" (p. 141).
Border People is a very interesting combination of the historical reconstruction
of events and the illumination of peoples' lives-both shaped by the border
environment. As a whole, this work represents solid scholarship by integrating
history, theory, and methodology, and is an accessible addition to the field of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/131/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.