America Is in the Heart: A Personal History (Washington Paperbacks)
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America Is in the Heart: A Personal History (Washington Paperbacks)

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  838 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Back in Print. Autobiography of Filipino poet.
Paperback, 327 pages
Published January 1st 1973 by University of Washington Press (first published 1946)
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  • America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan
    America Is in the Heart: A Personal History
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    Release date: Apr 01, 2014
    First published in 1946, this classic memoir by well-known Filipino poet Carlos Bulosan describes his boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to Americ…more
    Giveaway dates: Mar 24 - May 10, 2014
    3 copies available, 204 people requesting
    Countries available: US
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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30 of 1,502)
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    K.D. Absolutely
    Carlos Bulosan (1913-1956) was the first Pilipino who published a novel in English while in the US. This was in 1946 when he was 33 years old. He was a native of Binalonan, Pangasinan and went to the US at the age of 17 landing in Seattle in 1930.

    This book amazed me in many ways but it also raised several questions in my mind.

    Reading this brings back John Steinbeck’s 1939 magnum opus The Grapes of Wrath. The only difference is that the white Joad family – the main characters in Grapes - becomes...more
    Andrew
    Apr 04, 2011 Andrew added it
    Shelves: memoir
    At present moment, especially in my own Seattle, Filipinos are a pretty wealthy, pretty widely respected group highly represented in business and political leadership. Hard to believe that a mere 70 years ago they were beaten for sport by shitheel Oregonian cops.

    There isn't as much self-criticism and irony in America Is in the Heart as I normally like in my memoirs. But when the surrounding circumstances are so brutal (racism, murder, diseases of poverty, oppression of paisano populations), I do...more
    Ayban Gabriyel
    America is in the Heart, in pursuit of his “American Dream”

    America is in the Heart was an autobiography of Carlos Bulosan(1913-1956) a native of Binalonan, Pangasinan who went to California for greener pastures during the great depression in the US. The book was first published in 1946 in the US and was only given an attention in the country during the First Quarter Storm (1972), its great relevance during those times gave this biography the attention it needs.

    In the book he gave his 3 brothe...more
    Janica Vinas
    America is in the Heart tells the story of Carlos Bulosan, a strongly inspired Filipino peasant who strives to leave his life of poverty behind to fulfill his American dream. The book is set in small towns throughout the Philippines to different states and cities in the United States during the 1920’s through the 1940’s, a time when being an immigrant in America was harsh. Wanting nothing more than to live a decent life, Bulosan must endure the struggles of being a poor Filipino in America and c...more
    Leah
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Monica
    This is an autobiography about Carlos Bulosan's life in America. Bulosan was born in the central Philippines in Binalonan.
    After arriving in America in 1930, at the age of 17, he discovered a new world of violence, racism and oppression.
    I personally think this is a GREAT text! It is sad of course because it is about the lives of Filipinos in America and their struggles with racist people and even amongst themselves.
    Cyndi
    Read for a class I am taking but thoroughly enjoyed. In four parts, the author places himself in events that were the push factor of many Filipinos to leave the Philippines and come to America. When they arrived the pull factors of democracy and freedom taught in their occupied land were not readily available to them. Prejudice, discrimination and xenophobia greeted the immigrants. Occasionally a bit of the American dream would introduce itself and illuminated the disparity of the land and it's...more
    sdw
    This is not an autobiography. This is fiction or a composite of many different experiences. For example, Bulosan did not work in the canneries in Alaska. I’m not sure why this book is continually introduced as an autobiography, rather than a piece of literature that falsely presents itself as autobiography. Doing so contributes to the tendency to read certain forms of literature as historical fact, and also I think downplays the particular literary merits of this piece.

    This book tells the journ...more
    Lance
    Reminiscent of Fredrick Douglas' own journey into literacy and social consciousness, this book traces the life of a Filipino poet from a chaotic world on the fringe of American society to a world of poetry and social action. The book records an aspect of American culture that is a blind spot for most of us and will certainly deepen the complexity of anyone's view of America.
    Gina
    this is a good book showing filipino american history
    Kristina
    This was a hard read for a lot of reasons.

    At times it moved REALLY slow. I found it difficult to set aside time to read when I wasn't very interested in significant parts of the book. It's an auto-biography about Carlos Bulosan, a Filipino immigrant living in California in the 1920's after he fled the Philippines to escape poverty and political corruption. Bulosan, like many, believed in the American Dream but became quickly disenfranchised when he saw "the real America." While I appreciated so...more
    Anna
    “Why was America so kind and yet so cruel? It was like going to war with other soldiers; some survived death but could not survive life.”

    Carlos Bulosan left me clenching my chest. It didn’t matter whether or not this was a literal account (I’m sorry to tell most of readers, but most good stories aren’t). His story’s a powerful one, it speaks of violence, prejudice, exploitation and unexpected kindness. He writes with an unrelenting spirit, even when disenchanted by the world around him. He's an...more
    Angelica
    Let me first say that I appreciate the stories and perspectives Bulosan provides to us in these pages. The voice of any minority is crucial in our society. The stories were real, and were told in such a way that made them less of exaggerated fiction for novels than the raw memories of a Pilipino living through the racism and prejudice of others living in America.

    I also don’t think it was told in a way that made Pilipinos living in America to be the heroes. Somehow, Bulosan made these people prot...more
    Lauren
    In many ways, an excellent book and a view/experience of America that is a necessary read. In other ways, Bulosan's book irritated me... his narration style seems to filter particular details and exclude the rest (which is true, to some extent, with any narrative)--but he doesn't seem to remain consistent with regard to the kinds/types of events that are worthy of more or less information. To me it read as a combination of a (slightly) filtered stream-of-consciousness, autobiography, social crit...more
    Aileen
    Mr. Bulosan sets out for the American dream, but once he arrives he questions what exactly is this ”dream” he heard of so much back home in Binalonan. He finds that the ”dream” is not necessarily a tangible commodity-nice home, fancy car, expensive clothes, etc.-but being American is an idea, a way of living & thinking. Mr. Bulosan immerses himself in literature, history & philosophy to gain perspective.

    Unfortunately, he comes to America to work as hard as he did in the Philippines, fro...more
    Rufus
    The figure of Carlos Bulosan cuts a distinct outline in the history of Philippine-American relations. His account of the exploitation and violence perpetrated upon Filipino farm workers in the United States during the Great Depression, through the War and until the early 1950s when McCarthyist hysteria started gripping the minds of the mainstream American population, provides an incalculable source of a viewpoint that is not much read in mainstream historical works even today. Reading Bulosan is...more
    Aaron
    This was required reading for a history class I took in college. As the subtitle suggests, it is a memoire, thus vastly more enjoyable than most required reading for a 300 level history class. But this book was made all the more enjoyable by being familiar with several locations visited by Mr. Bulosan. Having been though the Yakima Valley on several occasions and having recently lived only thirty minute north of Pasco, it was easy to picture these locations as Mr. Bulosan would have seen them ba...more
    Matthew
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Christina Aguilar
    my two favorite quotes from the book:

    "When you are in love, you are brave. You are not afraid of death." (p 53)

    COMMENTARY - i'm not afraid of death; therefore, i am in love. hahaha. or i'm afraid of death but not know it.

    *

    "But we must not demand from America, because she is still our unfinished dream. Instead we must sacrifice for her: let her grow into bright maturity through our labors. If necessary we must give up our lives that she might grow unencumbered." (p 312)

    COMMENTARY - doesn't it so...more
    Amanda
    I read America is in the Heart for my Asian American Literature class. I'm not saying it's not interesting or not a good book, but I didn't like it that much. The style wasn't one that captured my attention.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who's interested in Filipino history, immigration history, and racial discrimination. The interesting thing about this novel is that Busolan mixes autobiography, memoir, and a novel together in one text. Maybe some of these things did happen to him, maybe...more
    Humberto
    This is a book filled with a heavy dose of reality. The real struggles of Filipino immigrants in 1930's America and of the struggle of mankind to remain human. Compassion is often lost to us in our modern world, and Allos reminds us just how quickly that can happen but also how just as quickly it can be turned around. This is thus a tale often filled with truly heart warming anecdotes of compassion and also with equally disturbing and morose depictions of human brutality. We can learn much from...more
    Thomas Barnes
    This book was painful to read - in that with every page I yearned to join Allos's struggle in finding his place in America and fight prejudice. I'm rather incredulous that all of these events could happen to one man, but as an ethnograph this story stands out as a retelling of the Filipino experience in coming to America. This book gave me a fresh perspective on my place and roots in the world, though the plethora of places and characters had a tendency to blend together and made for some modera...more
    Sharon
    This was a very hard book to read. But it tells the painful truth of the Filipino immigrant experience in the 30's and 40's to and in the United States. Bulosan doesn't spare any details about his harsh experiences. It is just as important now, as a lesson from history about how segregation of any kind is so demoralizing, dehumanizing, and wrong--and it applies to today, too. This is a piece of the complex history of immigration in the US, of a group of people that is rarely spoken of in US hist...more
    Sarahcando
    My favorite book by far. I highly recommend this book, especially to Filipinos and Filipino Americans who want to know about who we are and where we came from. This work is very moving and hard to read only because of all the struggles and events that Bulosan has described that he, his family, and others had to face. I had to put it down from time to time because it made me too sad and angry. I very much enjoyed his writing style and choice of words. He is a poet indefinitely. This book has beco...more
    Ruth
    It's the first immigration story I've read by a Philippino author, and maybe the first time I thought about how rough they've had it or of the weird historical relationship between that country & the US. I liked the clarity of the writing of the earlier parts about his growing up in the Philippines and all the economic problems his family experiences there, but there is also a lot to learn after he comes to the west coast, gets involved in the labor movement there, meets all sorts of unbelie...more
    Krisha Jane
    Mar 03, 2014 Krisha Jane is currently reading it
    How to read here?
    Stephen
    Another Asian American "canon" book. This autobiographical novel centers on the life of a Filipino American transnational and his experiences as a migrant worker traversing the heterogeneous topography of California.

    I also tend to like this book more every time I read. Bulosan was a true activist in the way that I think academics can totally forget about, being chained to books and not going back to the communities that they might be representing for and/or speaking about... Carlos Bulosan keep...more
    Ad Astra
    There's a really stoic tone to the book and narration which I really don't enjoy personally. However, this tone does allow the author to move quickly from one location and part of his history to the next, which is valuable. I liked the book well enough, some of it seems sort of repetitive but given this is an autobiography I understand. The last 3rd of the book is where I feel it really picks up and gets extremely interesting as Carlos gets involved with the labor movements and not just the pain...more
    Amanda
    I will say this is one of my favorite books ever ...
    , its heart wrenching and intriguing. You cant help feeling for the characters and hoping that everything will work out. I remember almost wanting to cry so many times. There is not an inch of this book that didnt hook itself into my heart. I learned so much that I never knew before. I remember reading the ending and feeling so sad and yet feeling that there was more than just the fact of events.Superbly written. I will never forget it.
    Jaclyn
    Carlos Bulosan captures the struggles of migrant farm workers with exact details. Reading this book taught me that courage is not about crossing the finish line, but daring to run with the knowledge that you won't finish. I recommend this book to everyone because it is so easy to loose hope in society or oneself. America is in the Heart chronicles Bulosan's home in the Philipines and immigration to America. What he discovers reveals the subtle and obvious barriers present in our world.
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    Carlos Sampayan Bulosan was a Filipino American novelist and poet best-known for the semi-autobiographical America is in the Heart.
    More about Carlos Bulosan...
    The Laughter of My Father On Becoming Filipino: Selected Writings All the Conspirators Cry And Dedication If You Want to Know What We Are: A Carlos Bulosan Reader

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