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4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  195 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
A bestseller when it was published in 1970 at the height of the Mexican-American civil rights movement, Chicano unfolds the fates and fortunes of the Sandoval family, who flee the chaos and poverty of the Mexican Revolution and begin life anew in the United States.

Patriarch Hector Sandoval works the fields and struggles to provide for his family even as he faces discrimina
Paperback, 437 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published June 1st 1972)
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I picked up a copy of this book on kindle during the Amazon banned books sale 2015. I had not previously heard of it but I was particularly interested in learning a little about racial/ethnic cultures other than my own. I think on this level at least superficially, this book succeeds in exposing me to well as surprisingly many similarities.

The novel itself is pretty generic. It spans 4 generations of the Sandoval family. In my head I have casually characterized it as a Mexican P
Jul 29, 2016 Licha rated it liked it
Shelves: family, race
I loved the story of the first three generations of the Sandoval family. The first half of this book would get 5+ stars. The struggles each generation went through to give each of their families a new life, better than the one they themselves had had, was fantastic. We start with Hector, who starts out in a city in Mexico named Trainwreck. When his 11 yr. old son, Neftali, is forced to join the Revolutionary War, the family is devastated. Neftali is gone for a day before he goes AWOL, returning ...more
S.W. Gordon
Jun 18, 2015 S.W. Gordon rated it liked it
It was a quick and painless read. The prose was straight forward and simple. Since this was a multigenerational story, many characters were briefly sketched, then left in the proverbial dust as the story moved onto the next generation. The book opens with the metaphorical train of progress rolling down the tracks through the dangerous canyons of the ignorant past and hopelessly wrecking. Every character suffers the same fate as the train and all the plot lines end in tragedy---no one escapes unh ...more
May 30, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some complain about the melodramatic plot twists and, particularly, the ending... but it seems to me that the over the top, brown versus white characterizations actually pay homage to narrative structures in Mexican popular culture rather than fitting the plot to the demands of the Anglo reading public of the day.

This is the story of a Mexican family that escapes the violence of the Mexican Revolution in the beginning of the 20th century but, as Mexican-Americans, the successive generations find
Aug 01, 2012 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is, i believe, a realistic picture of the lives of an immigrant family in california. very disturbing ending, again realistic.
Jun 02, 2012 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book and the history it showed thru out the family line in Los Angeles.
Apr 15, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Part One of Chicano by Richard Vasquez was both an informative and somewhat humbling experience for me. As someone who lived in Colorado for nearly a decade and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado – situated in Greeley, a city with an established multigenerational Hispanic population – I thought of myself as someone who is reasonably well aware of Hispanic issues, needs, and concerns for a white guy. I was vaguely aware of the term “Chicano” as a variant of Hispanic or La ...more
Oct 04, 2015 Abigail rated it liked it
A poignant, compelling novel that paints a history of Chicanos in the US by following one family through the decades. Vasquez, himself a descendant of Mexican immigrants, shows us the dignity of migrant laborers without romanticizing their struggle.

Prior to writing, Vazquez held myriad odd jobs--including fruit picking and other field work. Eventually he found his way into journalism and spent many years documenting Latino issues for Anglo publications. This life experience and journalism backgr
Ms. Wayne
Apr 18, 2007 Ms. Wayne added it
Shelves: mexico
From the Publisher

A bestseller when it was published in 1970 at the height of the Mexican-American civil rights movement, Chicano unfolds the fates and fortunes of the Sandoval family, who flee the chaos and poverty of the Mexican Revolution and begin life anew in the United States.

Patriarch Hector Sandoval works the fields and struggles to provide for his family even as he faces discrimination and injustice. Of his children, only Pete Sandoval is able to create a brighter existence, at least fo
Laura Cáceres
Dec 09, 2015 Laura Cáceres rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Estuvo bien, ya que son las explicaciones de los mexicanos que emigraron a Estados Unidos, y de cómo las primeras, segundas y terceras generaciones se van adaptando. Aunque pasan por muertes, parientes que vienen, que van, que se desarman, que hacen sus lugares, todavía deja claro que en los setentas había muchos mexicanos que no sabían de sus orígenes. En el caso de Richad Vasquez lo quiere hacer un poco sociologico y otro poco antropológico al mostrar la historia de la familia Sandoval, o al m ...more
Brandon Lopez
Feb 16, 2015 Brandon Lopez rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gemma Avalos
Apr 24, 2008 Gemma Avalos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with any interest in migration.
Recommended to Gemma by: English Teacher, Mrs. Wasbotten
Chicano... An authentic, breathtaking novel that tells of the struggles and effects when to worlds try to unite into one. The novel gracefully travels from a town named Trainwreck, to a ghetto barrio by Watts in East L.A. This story is told from different generations as they slowly progress north of the United States. It travels from crop picking in South California, to a racist all-white neighborhood in L.A. where a Mexican-American Family struggles to fit in. Story comes to a real twist when o ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Maritza rated it really liked it
From this book, I appreciated the amount of family history and how their lives interact with others. The way the community is united was also memorable. With economical advances, their family continued to be ostracized and rejected and the end result does not surprise you, you kinda expected it. This opened my eyes to a novel that addressed the social justice issues I had to go to college to find out about; I was disappointed it'd been the first time I'd actually read the novel in it's entirety. ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a bestseller when first written in 1970. It is apparently a "classic of Chicano literature". So, I looked forward to reading it. It didn't inspire me as much as I thought, however.

It's the story of family who left Mexico for the US to find a better life. It seemed to be a true accounting of what some of these migrants from Mexico lived through when coming to the US. For that I am grateful.

The book, however, mentions only the negative aspects of this migration: the women who ended
"Chicano" items the story of a Mexican man,who is a hardworking man who becomes stranded in small village. I recommend anybody to this book who is interested in struggle. This book contains not only murder and rape, but child prostitution.

Wanting nothing more than to leave the country, he becomes troubled and needs help. This book contains how real the struggle to live , wanting nothing more than to live in the United States.

The problem with with this book is it shows how easily a life can b
Nov 29, 2010 Natalie rated it really liked it
Good book for learning more about the lives of migrant farm workers. It shows how the cycle of poverty can be perpetuated and/or broken, and the discrimation faced by Mexican-Americans that helps to perpetuate. There are so many social messages in this book. I would recommend it. One note, I found myself flipping back sometimes because there are so many characters, as it traces 4 generations of one family.
The book description on Goodreads is not what this book is about. It is the story of a multi-generational Mexican-American family. It describes their struggles trying to provide for their children and better their lives...another story about the Chicano experience.
Mar 08, 2009 Ariel rated it liked it
I liked this quite a lot, but it tailed off a bit at the end——addresses lots of issues, but provides no real insights. It reads much like a less-detailed Michener, following a Mexican family in California.
Feb 19, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
I’d say it’s the Grapes of Wrath of the Mexican American community in CA. Really interesting book. Follows generations of the Sandoval family as they leave Mexico and adapt to the US. Very good book.
May 25, 2008 Jenaro rated it it was ok
Shelves: 08-09-books
So far so good. It's not what I thought if would be but, still a good read. A great look at early Los Angeles and what was going on to Mexicans who were migrating in the early 50's. A good read so far.

Almost done.

Sep 26, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in Chicano literary history
An interesting perspective in the end on what Vasquez thinks Anglos need to know/understand about Chicanos, and vice versa. Its merit today is not so much in the story, but in the historical perspective it lends to its political era.
Jun 12, 2011 Noelle rated it it was ok
Didn't even finish the book. I thought it seemed to perpetuate the stereotypes of what people think of the typical "Chicano". Not what I was expecting.
Jun 17, 2016 Sherese rated it liked it
Uneven character development and I found it hard to keep track of the family connections between the characters.
Ruben Martinez (Introduction). First Chicano lit published in USA.
Liked this exploratory story about 4 generations of a family originally from Mexico. Ends very sadly.
Vari *ReadAddict*
Apr 28, 2014 Vari *ReadAddict* rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this read. It was very informative, and help broaden my knowledge on the Chicano community, as well as how everything developed as for the Latins migrating to the U.S.
Susan Gershman
Oct 17, 2015 Susan Gershman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kept me interested

A novel about Mexican Americans through generations of a particular family. Well written, emotional at times, with a twist at the end.
Jul 29, 2012 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A realist's look at an immigrant family's plight in America. I enjoyed it. The ending felt rushed and bleak.
Ron Harris
Ron Harris rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2015
Gina rated it really liked it
May 05, 2007
Susan rated it really liked it
Nov 03, 2009
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  • Pocho
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  • Mother Tongue
  • Chicano! the History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement
  • The Ballad of the Sad Cafe
  • Zoot Suit and Other Plays
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  • Occupied America: A History of Chicanos
  • 500 Years of Chicana Women's History/500 Años de la Mujer Chicana
In 1970, when Chicano hit the bookshelves, there was just one similarly themed novel published by a major U.S. imprint: José Antonio Villareal’s Pocho.
The author of Chicano, Richard Vásquez (1923-1990), was a third-generation Angelino who worked in the fields, in construction, and as a taxi driver before turning to journalism. His seminal book recreates the life of four generations of the Sandoval
More about Richard Vasquez...

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