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

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  1,436 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
AMERICA IS IN THE HEART. First published in 1946, this autobiography of the well known Filipino poet describes his boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant laborer following the harvest trail in the rural West. Bulosan does not spare the reader any of the horrors tha accompanied the migrant's life; but his qui ...more
Paperback, University of Washington Press Edition, 327 pages
Published February 1st 1974 by University of Washington Press (first published 1946)
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Kᴇᴇ Queen
"The old world is dying, but a new world is being born. It generates inspiration from the chaos that beats upon us all. The false grandeur and security, the unfulfilled promises and illusory power, the number of the dead and those about to die, will charge the forces of our courage and determination. The old world will die so that the new world [will have] less sacrifice and agony on the living."

Carlos Bulosan is a Filipino author who is considered both a socialist writer and a labor organiz
Mar 25, 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
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 03, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it
Shelves: local, memoirs
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
Ayban Gabriyel
Nov 15, 2013 Ayban Gabriyel rated it it was amazing
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
In the midst of reading or right after you have read it, you may conclude that Carlos Bulosan ‘s personal accounts of his childhood experiences as well as his abject misery in America appear to be OVER EXAGERRATED , or far from the reality. I thought so, for I was not aware of the real situations among OFW’s. But you may come to the deeper realization that Carlos Bulosan must have had personal reasons: This book could serve as an eye-opener not only to the Filipino immigrants but also to the oth ...more
Janica Vinas
Dec 10, 2013 Janica Vinas rated it really liked it
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
Jul 02, 2008 L rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2007 sdw rated it really liked it
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
Jan 20, 2009 Monica rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Jan 14, 2011 Cyndi rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
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
Feb 05, 2010 Lance rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 09, 2009 Xmabaitx rated it it was amazing
This is the very first book about the Filipino American experience that I ever read. Despite certain complexities regarding how "true" its account is as an actual autobiography the book changed my life. Quintessential for students of Asian American Studies, Filipino American Studies, Ethnic Studies as well as for anyone interested in the "immigrant experience".
Erwin Magbanua
Mar 16, 2011 Erwin Magbanua rated it it was amazing
A breathtaking account of the immigrant "manongs" who endured relentless discrimination and hardship to create the foundations upon which Filipino Americans thrive today. Heartbreaking at almost every turn, but you can't look away
Jul 28, 2007 Gina rated it really liked it
this is a good book showing filipino american history
Chidinma onuoha
May 30, 2017 Chidinma onuoha rated it really liked it
A novel that transcends through generations carrying with it just as much relevance now than it did during his time. This novel addresses immigration in its most raw form.
Jun 04, 2015 janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I kept seeing this book referred to in print in my Asian American literature and theory class last term in both literary criticism and accounts of activism by Filipinos during the 1960s and 70s, especially in efforts to save the I-hotel in San Francisco. I am so grateful that it was published and that these references to his book got me to read this incredible book. He has the most amazing memory of people, places, moments between people and feelings. At first, I gave it 4 stars because it is fr ...more
Feb 19, 2017 Bree rated it liked it
I read this novel for a Postcolonial literature class at CU Boulder.

I give it three stars only because it is so raw and honest. The perspective Bulosan offers is an important part of our collective history and he has captured the darkest corners of it.

As for the writing, while beautiful at times, the novel was very hard to follow. I eventually realized that, to continue reading, I would just have to stop caring about one big story and start enjoying the little stories as they came at me.

I nev
Nick Klagge
Oct 03, 2015 Nick Klagge rated it liked it
We've had this book on the shelf ever since I've known Elise, and I've told her several times not to give it away because I was interested in reading it. Well, 6+ years later, I finally got around to it!

The book is the memoir of Carlos Bulosan, a Filipino who immigrated to the US in the first half of the twentieth century. It's divided into roughly three parts: his childhood in a peasant family in the rural Philippines, his early years in America as a sort of wanderer, and his later years in Ame
Jan 20, 2012 Kristina rated it it was ok
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
Jan 10, 2013 Aileen rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 01, 2011 Anna rated it it was amazing
“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
Stephanie Fujii
Oct 13, 2015 Stephanie Fujii rated it it was ok
Very glad to be done with this one. (you can tell it was a bit of a struggle because of how long it took me to read it)

The book started out strong - I found the history very interesting and informative, and the overall narrative well put together. The background of Filipinos to America is a narrative that isn't told nearly as often as some of the other minority narratives, and yet, it played just as significant a role in the development of our state, and nation.

As the book progressed, though, I
This is one of those books that I found interesting more than I enjoyed, because I didn't, but I Was able to squeeze out a seven page paper on it so there's that. The narrative style was what was particularly interesting for me. We spent a lot of time in my Asian-American lit class talking about the difference between a men's and a women's autobiography, but I didn't really understand what we meant until I read this. In addition, this is a collective narrative, in that while not all of the anecd ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: exam-1
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
Feb 07, 2013 Angelica rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, community
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
May 31, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
A moving memoir that is also historically important. Carlos Bulosan tells of the Filopino migrations to the US in the first third of the twentieth century, an history that has not been as well-documented as that of other Asian minorities in the US. The first part describes his life in the Philippines until the age of 17, when poverty drove him abroad. The background of beauty, love, poverty and injustice makes interesting contrast to the life he found in the US. A history of the union movement f ...more
Feb 22, 2016 Deb rated it liked it
I read for many reasons... to escape, to laugh, to be pulled into a thriller, to challenge myself, to feel just a little bit uncomfortable with how I experience the world. All valuable experiences.

Bulosan's stark and wrenching account of his immigration to America and the difficulties he faced as a Filipino in the 1930's as a migrant worker falls under the latter category. I think what makes his tale so poignant is that through the racism, abuse, poverty and ugliness that he encountered, he ulti
Apr 11, 2012 Aaron rated it really liked it
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
Robert Brown
Mar 30, 2015 Robert Brown rated it really liked it
What does it mean to be American? This is the semi-autobiographical story of Carlos's life coming to America from the Philippines. Intrigued by the disguise opportunity and freedom, Carlos makes his way to the land of hope and prosperity. It's only after it was too late does he learn that what awaits him is only death and sorrow. America Is in the Heart is one of the saddest books I have ever read. Just about every character that is introduced gets harmed or dies. This is a history of immigratio ...more
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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.
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“Yes, I will be a writer and make all of you live again in my words.” 12 likes
“This is the beginning of your life in America,” Julio said. “We'll take a freight train from Sunnyside and go to nowhere.” “I would like to go to California,” I said. “I have two brothers there—but I don't know if I could find them.” “All roads go to California and all travelers wind up in Los Angeles,” Julio said. “But not this traveler. I have lived there too long. I know that state too damn well….” “What do you mean?” I asked. Suddenly he became sad and said: “It is hard to be a Filipino in California.” 2 likes
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