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Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican Americans from Colonial Times to the Present Era


This history of Mexican Americans explains how Latinos in the U.S. became a major political, economic, and cultural force that is fast changing the national identity of this country.

Mexican Americans, specifically, account for nearly two thirds of this population. Mexicans are the oldest settlers of the United States and the nation’s largest group of recent immigrant arrivals. Their population is increasing faster than that of all other Latino groups combined. The growing importance of this minority group–which will be felt strongly in twenty-first-century America–calls for a fresh assessment of Mexican-American history.

The second edition of Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican Americans from the Colonial Period to the Present Era includes a new final chapter that examines such issues as increased anti-immigrant activity after 2006, the crucial role of Latinos in the election of Barack Obama, increased border enforcement and deportation in the wake of the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass amnesty legislation, Latinos and private detention centers, the role of individual states in immigration reform, the surge of unaccompanied children from Central America, and more.

The author, Zaragosa Vargas, is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina.

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