Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds

Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America
Oct. 23, 2007

Wide-ranging and provocative, Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds offers an unprecedented account of the long-term cultural and political influences that Mexican Americans will have on the collective character of our nation.

In considering the largest immigrant group in American history, Gregory Rodriguez examines the complexities of its heritage and of the racial and cultural synthesis -- mestizaje -- that has defined the Mexican people since the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century. Rodriguez deftly delineates the effects of mestizaje throughout the centuries, traces the northern movement of this "mongrelization," explores the emergence of a new Mexican American identity in the 1930s, and analyzes the birth and death of the Chicano movement. Vis-a-vis the present era of Mexican American confidence, he persuasively argues that the rapidly expanding Mexican American integration in to the mainstream is changing not only how Americans think about race but how we envision our nation.

Deeply informative -- as historically sound as it is anecdotally rich, brilliantly reasoned, and highly though provoking -- Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds is a major contribution to the discussion of the cultural and political future of the United States.


In the midst of a narrow, polemical debate on immigration, Gregory Rodriguez has written a generous, sweeping, prodigiously researched, and judicious history of Mexican Americans that helps us understand their long-term influence on American society.

BY: Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico and former United States ambassador to the United Nations

Rodriguez has pulled off not one but two stunning coups -- a thoroughly original history and a penetrating commentary on what race means and will mean in our era and beyond.

BY: Tamar Jacoby, author of Someone Else's House: America's Unfinished Struggle for Integration

Rodriguez's book provides a welcome interjection of sanity and complexity into a debate that so far has been largely characterized by ignorance, ideology, and hysteria.

BY: Eric Alterman, author of When Presidents Lie: A History of the Official Deception and Its Consequences

Trailblazing... Rodriguez examines the complex racial and ethnic heritage of Mexican Americans with a sweeping historical insight that demolishes widespread prevalent myths... A vital contribution to understanding the role of Mexican Americans in U.S. society.

BY: Lou Cannon, author of President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime

An indispensable guide to America's future--and an optimistic one, too.

BY: Adrian Woolridge, co-author of The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America