Beth Cato's Reviews > The Other California: The Great Central Valley In Life And Letters

The Other California by Gerald W. Haslam
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: in, 2010, central-california, nonfiction, history

In this collection of essays by Gerald Haslam, he explores what it means to be from the San Joaquin Valley of California, a massive stew of cultures and people. As an Oildale boy and a product of Okie and Hispanic heritage, his perspective is entrenched in valley dirt and hard work.[return][return]I seek out books on my home region, and I now count this among my favorites. Haslam shows the valley as it is. He speaks with pride about the labor of Okies struggling to emerge from the poverty of the dust bowl, and the Mexican migrants working the fields today. He explores the racism of Taft in the 1970s, and the grief of his mother's slow decline and death. It's a moving work. Haslam struck me as someone who I could simply sit near for the joy of hearing him speak about the old days and the promise of the future.[return][return]I found this comparative to David Mas Masumoto's Letters to the Valley, the sort of work that makes me proud of where I come from and homesick to return. This is a keeper.

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