Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America
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Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  418 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Spanning 500 years of Hispanic history, from the first New World colonies to the 19th century westward expansion in America, this narrative features family portraits of real-life immigrants along with sketches of the political events and social conditions that compelled them to leave their homeland.
Paperback, 346 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published 2000)
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The only reason it gets three instead of four or five stars is, while I like Gonzalez's intent to steer clear of composing a text written in what he terms the "safari approach" (meaning a text geared toward the Anglo -- i.e. non-Latino -- reader in which the writer guides the reader toward knowledge of the "other") I take slight issue with his ultimate conclusion in the Introduction that terminology debates are a complete waste of time. While I agree that arguing over labels such as "Hispanic" v...more
A compilation of the history of many Central American countries with the thesis that the United States is complicit in the current instability of the region due to diplomatic and economic decisions and military interloping. In the title of the book, Gonzalez suggests that the United States intervened in the politics and economy of Central America to create an American empire. I learned so much history that was only given a cursory glance in school. I certainly learned about aspects of American g...more
Easy to see why its required text in many university programs. A complete history of Latin Americans relationship with Europe. The primary countries it looks at is Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba, Honduras, and El Salvador. Reviews all aspects of annexation and immigration. Makes a point of emphasis on how annexation from the United States created a cultural contribution by Hispanics to the conquerors future culture, despite it being largely ignored. Compares and cont...more
This book is great. I might have given it five stars if it wasn't for the fact that it is a little uneven in its treatment of different Latin American nations. Of course, I probably shouldn't hold that against Gonzalez, by his own admission, "Latin America" is a large and varied place, and there is no way any one book could possible cover it all, as such some nations are hardly mentioned (if not completely ignored).

However, if you can get over this (which I can understand would be difficult if y...more
Juan Gonzalez has written a very clear history of Hispanics in the United States. Just as Ronald Takaki showed the true multicultural nature of immigrants in A Different Mirror, Gonzalez shows the multicultural and multifaceted make-up of Hispanics in the United States. After reviewing the history of the US involvement in the subjugation and control of Latin America, he then recounts the unique histories of several different groups: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia...more
Mar 23, 2013 Burgendya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to anyone one. Also for the history buffs out there.
Recommended to Burgendya by: My Latino Studies professor had the class read it as a text
Harvest of Empire:A History of Latinos in America was a wonderful book that was beautifully written and clarifies the Latin American history from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. I have read this book for a Latino studies class in the university I go to and I loved it so much.

Juan Gonzalez delivers a great insight of what the first Hispanics have gone through in the beginning of the United State (New World). From beginning to current events of now, so he has done his researc...more
Harvest of Empire is a little out of date now, but it is still essential reading for understanding the nuances of the wave of Latino immigration that is changing the face of the US.

Gonzalez is especially good at illuminating the distinctions between the
backgrounds of the various Latino sub groups. As a Puerto Rican, he understandably spends quite a lot of the book on that country. He makes a strong case for seeing Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans as tremendously exploited by the US, and left hangi...more
Meg Petersen
Usually updated editions disappoint me, but this was an exception. Usually, they tend to read as if the author had tacked on some updates that don't flow with the original vision of the book, but this one reads very smoothly. I appreciated that the author contrasted the colonial pasts of both the English and the Spanish colonists and how this affects us to this day. I also appreciated the comprehensiveness of the history, although you could note that the author was Puerto Rican in the extended c...more
An insightful and important read. The story of such a huge portion of the American population that all too often gets marginalized and forgotten.
Saul Hudacin
Everyone should read this especially in light of everything that's going on with immigration right now.
The book narrates three phases of Latino history in the u.s., beginning with anglo vs hispanic colonialization of u.s.(roots), to how different Latinos emigrated to the u.s.(branches), to the interdependencies of globalization and emigration as seen in twentieth century. It was published in 2000 so the last section of the book leaves out anti-globalization movement politics.

Gonzalez is a clean and personable historian; many sections narrate the history with specific people or families he intervi...more
Author's argument is that US colonial adventures in Latin America from the late 1800s to the 1980's destabilized the region, forcing immigration to the United States in recent years. I found that the author's treatment of different groups was fairly uneven, but his main argument was accurate and his overview of Mexican-American history was excellent. The book is now somewhat outdated, but provides an excellent history of Latin America for those of us who have forgotten.
Stephie Jane Rexroth
"History is filled with examples of other great nations that sought to stamp out 'differences' of race, religion, and language, only to end up destroying themselves. We fool ourselves in thinking our fate would be any different."
Mar 05, 2009 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elaine by: Kate
I am not sure I would call this a "left leaning" outlook except in some of the author's sugestions. However it is a fair history of the Latin American's emmigration to the US and his contributions to this country; the struggles and prejudices he has endured, and his value to our shared culture. I have given this book to friends who are working with and living with Hispanics.
Bethany Woodson
Well this is not a happy story but is full of great information, history, politics, solutions to problems that have plagued Latin Americans forever. I found it very informative, there is a lot about South American history that is not taught in United States schools even though we were directly involved.
Viviana Perez
I love this book. It is a very easy read about the (relatively recent) history of Latinos in the United States. I found the explanation of the economic dependency and imperalism that the United States had since the conquest especially easy to understand and explain to others.
Apr 01, 2010 Zulma marked it as to-read
Gonzalez, a columnist for the New York Daily News and co-founder of the Young Lords, studies the immigration of Latin Americans to the United States. It focuses on Latinos not as a homogeneous category, but rather as a variety of people from many nations.

I love Juan Gonzalez. This book gave me a lot of clarity about why Latinos are forced from their home of origin to come to the United States seeking a better life. I espeically like his writing style - gotta love authors who are also journalists.
It was definitely a great breakdown history of the Latino/a diaspora. I probably wouldn't have read this on my own. I did learn a lot from this book. However, I that felt that at times the author putting to much of his own opinion in.
Read Juan Gonzalez's (Democracy Now!) portrait of U.S. imperialism in Latin America and the Latino struggle in the U.S. for a concise and engaging historical overview. This literature is essential to every truthseeker's book list.
Randy O
This is far and away, hands down, without a doubt the best history of Latinos in the US. It's smart and entertaining at the same time, compassionate and passionate, and timely. I teach it in my college classroom every chance I get.
Aug 20, 2008 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: students looking for a user-friendly latino-american history overview
great history book because it's not written by a historian, but a journalist. So it tells a story. Nice overview on US policies that have impacted Latin American lives and immigration, and the tangled history of the continent.
Nov 18, 2012 James rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to James by: Democracy Now
The author's insight and perspective added to my understanding of Latino peoples experience in America as well as the American foreign policy impact on the people of Latin America.
Alexandra Amaya
Gonzalez wrote about a lot of stuff that I didn't know about and am glad to know he is someone who writes about the truth but still considers arguments on the other side of the fence.
A comprehensive study of the US' meddling in Latin America. Very well-researched and presented. The separate chapters include brief histories of Latin and South American countries.
Thank you Juan! This book is split into sections about different latino groups/country of origin, and sums up social justice/economic issues in that country. I need to reread it!
This is a wonderful book about the history of the Latinos in America that was never taught in school but should have been. it will remain in my library as a reference.
I believe high school students would be able to read this book. It provides a great overview of Laitno's history in America. It is also an easy read.
Very good description of the history of Latino immigration in US. Discusses
D.R. Mexican, P.R, Honduras/El Salvador/Guatemala, Cuban.
This is good solid factual journalism. It proves that immigration policies and problems are foreign policy issues.
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