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Mexifornia: A State of Becoming
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Mexifornia: A State of Becoming

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  396 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
This book is part history, part political analysis and part memoir. It is an intensely personal book about what has changed in California over the last quarter century.
Paperback, 150 pages
Published September 15th 2004 by Encounter Books
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Jul 01, 2010 Jon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2010
Fantastic book. Victor Davis Hanson shares in Mexifornia his personal, sometimes harrowing account of dealing with Hispanic illegal immigration principally from Mexico on his farm in Selma, CA - a small town in central California. He shares with the reader what he has experienced and because he is a noted military historian and a Professor at Fresno St., he is able to qualify his view and thoughts with impeccable research. This book is quite controversial, but a necessary wake up call.
There are
Mar 12, 2009 Nolan rated it liked it
This is a thoughtfully written book by a military historian and classics professor who takes a sane, careful look at how California and the entire western states and even the nation is changing as a result of almost-untrammeled illegal immigration. His concerns for the future are sobering indeed and on target. He writes of a burgeoning illegal population who assimilate in terms of wearing American clothes and even knowing about American cultural/entertainment icons but who have no real sense of ...more
Jul 25, 2012 Bob rated it liked it
Shelves: migrants
A short, but very well-written essay, ostensibly about immigration from Mexico, but in fact about social change in California and the replacement of an assimilationist ethos by one of racial separatism. Hanson's actual target seems to be liberal biases in American education, and, as a professor of classics at Cal State Fresno, is particularly critical of Chicano studies and similar programs.
"[The] subjugation of race to culture is forever a fragile state, not a natural condition. Each day it e
Feb 12, 2009 Betty rated it it was amazing
Enlightening. The author understands both sides of the issue and is very adept at presenting his analysis in a truly readable manner. Great book.
John Gurney
Oct 13, 2013 John Gurney rated it it was ok
I support immigration, but read "Mexifornia", with an open mind, anticipating disagreement with author Victor Davis Hansen. I lack space to fully refute his book, but will tackle broad points. First, I do not attack him personally; one shortcut around argumentation is to blandish terms like 'racist', and I don't think Hansen is one. He is a Cal State Civics professor who also farms in California's predominantly Mexican-American Central Valley, who, as described in the book, had close relationshi ...more
Jun 05, 2010 Greg rated it it was ok
This was a really disappointing book. I was expecting a historical narrative and analysis of the migration of Mexicans to California, especially since Hanson is a somewhat renown historian of ancient Rome and Greece. Instead this book is mainly Hanson's own personal stories (which is the best part of the book and I will get to later) and statistics. I don't agree with many of Hanson's arguments but what surprised me most was that he defended his claims with cheesy political one-liners I could ha ...more
Nov 22, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Victor Davis Hanson offers a short, semi-autobiographical assessment of the state of immigration issues/challenges in his home state, California. Hanson is a fourth-generation farmer, writer (, classicist formerly on the faculty of Fresno State, and current fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institute, who brings all of those skills to bear upon the vexing conundrum of immigration, particularly looking at how Mexican immigrants are uniquely shaping California's cultur ...more
John Wiswell
Jun 24, 2007 John Wiswell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Political readers, cultural readers, people concerned about illegal immigration
The best book on illegal immigration I've seen so far. Hanson has a lot of powerful anecdotes, and a lot of conflicting interests. Living an area of the U.S. that is saturated with illegal immigrants, he's seen both the positive and the negative. When no one else will help him with his crops, he relied on some of them. Others stole his mail for credit information and used his field as a trash dump. Legal immigrant students struggled to pay tuition while illegal immigrant students breezed by on s ...more
Jim Misko
Dec 12, 2014 Jim Misko rated it it was amazing
MEXIFORNIA, A State of Becoming by Victor Davis Hanson, was recommended to me five years ago and I blew it off. Then the President’s move to handle illegal immigration by executive order (11/14) instead of having Congress pass laws—after mid-term elections when his party was trounced—I thought it was time to read it. Victor Davis Hanson is a bright man and his presentation of the immigration situation and how it has impacted California is clear and concise. It ought to be read by every person ho ...more
Amber Elaine
Jun 21, 2017 Amber Elaine rated it did not like it
Terrible, racist book.
May 19, 2009 Rex rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Hanson argues that present-day California is a result of a two-way deal between the U.S. and Mexico. Mexico sends its poor to the U.S. while the U.S. profits from cheap labor. Politically, this is made possible by many Republican’s lust for cheap labor, and many Democrat’s thirst for an increased electoral base. The result is a constant wave of Latino immigrants that produces an unassimilated hybrid culture in the United States.

The book is largely anecdotal. I’d be interested in a book that pro
John Mccullough
Feb 24, 2015 John Mccullough rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Former Republican Representative Dick Armey said some time ago he thought Americans were a country of whiners. I discounted his assertion but in reading this book and its many supporters I must confess defeat. Dr. Hanson and his many avid readers seem to bemoan the fact that California, historically called Alta California, is being invaded by, of all people, Mexicans. The horror of it. His sweet, innocent, moral Anglophones are having to live next door to invaders from Latin America who ditch th ...more
Terry Cornell
Aug 23, 2015 Terry Cornell rated it it was amazing
A must read for Californians, and anyone interested in the illegal immigration issue. Victor Hanson is a retired Fresno State Professor that grew up on his families farm in a Central Valley town, and still lives there today. His somewhat unique perspective helps him examine the issue from the negative effects on our state's resources and school systems, to the real need of having worker's ready to harvest his peaches and pick his grapes. He writes of the failure of California's primary and secon ...more
May 29, 2017 Dovofthegalilee rated it it was amazing
A very balanced book that gives reasonable concerns without venom. For too long this problem has existed and since the publishing of this book in 2002 it might have gone past the point of return. He mentions building a wall several presidents back before Mr. Trump and that in itself is a record for how long this has been permeating in the minds of many Californians.
Jul 07, 2013 Lawrence rated it liked it
I want to begin by saying that both my parents were immigrants and that I have had a long career in immigration law.

That said, let me turn to Mr. Hanson's book. One reader on this website said that it reminds him/her of an editorial and that he/she had hoped for more of a "study". As to the first point, it has very much an editorial voice. It is nonetheless based on personal experience in one of the areas of the USA with the the greatest density of undocumented aliens. It is also heartfelt and h
Feb 20, 2015 Kenneth rated it liked it
This is a book that details the issue of immigration through the eyes of a white man who was born in this country. It details the perspective of a white man living among many Hispanics, but I do not see him feeling what they feel in their hearts. In reading this book, I felt as if I was listening into an argument across the table between the author and some of his liberal colleagues at the university.
Victor Davis Hanson has been described as a neoconservative by some commentators and was awarded
May 24, 2008 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I finally finished this book and was very impressed. It's not one you sit down for a rip-roaring bout of entertainment, but it was both thought-provoking and thoughtful. Hanson looks at the immigration problem from both sides and acknowledges how truly complex the situation is.

I was particularly impressed about his arguments that one huge failing in our society now is the lack of civic education and our emphasis on education for skills. Hanson states, "If students are taught that the main purp
Louis Lapides
Oct 03, 2015 Louis Lapides rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very important book to read to get a different perspective on the illegal and legal Mexican immigrant problem. Hanson grew up as a farmer in the California Central Valley so he is intimately acquainted with what he calls stooped workers in the farm fields.

Hanson compares how immigrants fared in the 50s-60s compared to today. His analysis is a must read especially for those who want to place all the blame on our current immigrant problem on the immigrants.

I feel the gist of the book is summari
Jun 25, 2016 Joshua rated it did not like it
Two parts wistfulness for America of the 1950s and 1960s, and 1 part veiled racism covered in the cloth of understanding because "I live with these people," this book claims to have a solution to a centuries-old problem that, even over ten years after its writing, has not added to the understanding of race relations in America. the beginning of the book love you in with reasonable interpretations history and the current status Mexican immigrants as perceived by the author. but slowly he takes th ...more
Blaine Welgraven
Dec 11, 2016 Blaine Welgraven rated it liked it
An honest look at immigration and assimilation in Southern California within the last 4 decades. Hanson's perspective is certainly unique; he's a trained classicist, professor emeritus at California State University (military history), and also a 5th-generation Selma-based almond farmer. Hanson's classicist, historical, and agrarian strains all mesh to create an analysis that is both academic and heartfelt. Hanson has the statistical, academic, and historical data to make his work stand, but it' ...more
Aug 03, 2013 S. rated it liked it
it's said the hardest phobia for a northeasterner to understand is hispanophobia. for the person born in boston, who grew up in ny, whose lived in delaware his whole life, mexico is:

for the Californian or Texan, Mexican immigration is something that requires

I like my chimichangas. I'm sorry that Californians and Texans have to deal with water bottles left on their 300 acres as illegals cross their ranch. and Professor Hanson, I think, is wearing . he knows he's tottering on the edge. it's just t
The American Conservative
'Victor Davis Hanson’s Mexifornia is the third best-seller on this immigration disaster in three years. (Hey! Maybe commercial publishers will—nah, fuhgeddaboutit.) In 2002, Michelle Malkin’s Invasion demonstrated that the U.S. admissions process was fundamentally flawed, regardless of what entry criteria were to be applied. In 2001, Patrick J. Buchanan’s Death of the West put U.S. immigration policy’s skew toward the Third World in the grand perspective of First World demographic and cultural d ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Chad rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Hanson states from the start that this is a personal account, not an in depth analysis featuring statistics and charts, etc. Its main themes are drawn from his life as a small California farmer and university educator. I enjoyed the personal view based on real world experience. He was able to relate his thoughts in a non-biased way, as much as anyone who has experienced what he has can.

He tells the tale of how his town grew from the 60's into what it has now become in a way that probably foresh
Jul 26, 2011 Tammie rated it liked it
This was a very interesting book. It was a bit short and I wish that some of the arguments would have gone a bit deeper into the idea, but for the length it was very informative. I agree with the points he made and can say that he brought up many ideas that were a new thought for me and that made me stop and think. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in looking deeper into what the population in California is, is becoming and why is it becoming what it is. I also appreciated ...more
Oct 12, 2008 Sarah added it
Shelves: politics
I had to return this book to the library when we moved out of town, and I didn't have time to finish the last 1 1/2 chapters. VDH is a farmer/classics scholar/political commentator born, raised, and still living and farming in California's Central Valley. He has very definite opinions (and a lifetime of firsthand observations) about how elements on both sides of the illegal immigration debate have contributed to the present mess. Unfortunately, I had to stop reading just as I was getting to what ...more
Feb 21, 2010 Sandra rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Should be required reading for Americans, and part of the mandatory curriculum in California. Mr. Hanson, already a respected military historian, brings a unique viewpoint and surprisingly objective perspective of California's issues as a (if memory serves) fifth generation Californian farmer. Everyone should read it. Mexican immigration, whether legal or illegal, will cause many adjustments - the lack of successful integration into American culture is a problem. Can we survive as a country with ...more
Clara Roberts
Dec 27, 2011 Clara Roberts rated it it was amazing
This was a book I could hardly put down. It bsically described California rapidly becoming a third world country. Hanson sums it up by "we have exchanged standards and taste forraw inclusiveness...." "Mexifornia is about the nature of a new Clifornia and what it means for America- a reflection uponthe strangesocietythat is emergingas a result of a demographic and cultural revolutionlike no other in our time
Chris Csergei
Apr 10, 2013 Chris Csergei rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this book. Hanson provides a reasonable and fair evaluation of the state of immigration in California. He bring a wonderfully diverse perspective to this topic, being both a college professor and a farmer. He doesn't resort to divisive rhetoric or hide behind politic language. His arguments and concerns both challenged me and influenced my opinions on this topic. I could not recommend this book more.
Jessica Henson
Nov 17, 2016 Jessica Henson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book promises an essay that is "part history, part political analysis, and part memoir". Instead I got 10 pages of interesting insight, 40 pages of history, and 100 pages of a white man bitching about how much better life was back in the day. His sources are few and far between, and he constantly makes opinionated assertions with only anecdotes as evidence. If you are interested in actually learning about illegal immigration, this is not the book you should pick up.
Oct 09, 2008 Allison rated it liked it
I suppose I had never given much thought to Mexican immigration before, even though I'm surrounded (literally, my whole apartment building) but legal and illegal Mexican immigrants. This book really opened my eyes and made me reevaluate where I stand on the issues of immigration, assimilation, border control, and government policy. Once again I learned that I don't really know very much.
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Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA, Classics, 1975), the American School of Classical Studies (1978-79) and received his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University in 1980. He lives and works with his family on their forty-acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California, where he was born in 1953.
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