Latino Sun, Rising
Our Spanish-Speaking U.S. World
Mexican American Studies
6 x 9, 272 pp.
No illustrations, etc.
Pub Date: 12/07/2004
  cloth
Price:        $29.95

978-1-58544-381-9
  paper
Price:        $19.95

978-1-58544-637-7

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Latino Sun, Rising

Our Spanish-Speaking U.S. World

By Marco Portales

Now that Latinos are the most numerous ethnic minority in the United States and a growing part of the middle and professional classes, a Mexican American educator takes stock. Latinos can see that their sun is rising. Marco Portales knows; his life has been lived under that rising sun.

On the beach at Corpus Christi, in class at SUNY-Buffalo, waiting tables in Chicago, traveling to London, teaching at Berkeley, raising a family near NASA headquarters in Houston—Portales gives readers a view of the private world and public significance of Latinos. By vividly recreating his parents’ generation as well as his own, Marco Portales encourages readers to consider Latino progress since the days of his happy youth during the Eisenhower fifties, years that coalesced into the gradual but steady unfurling of his ethnic consciousness.

Working within a traditional Aztec framework of “suns” or days, Portales looks through the window of individual life onto the “morning” (sol naciente) of growing up as a minority member of American society, the “noontime” (sol ardiente) of private adult life and the transmission of identity to a new generation, and the full heat of afternoon (sol radiante), when public business is done and the larger polity is addressed.

In the compelling details of a life truly lived—and a balanced, lively intellect that articulates itself in a society that often asks people such as him to choose between their American and Mexican identities—Portales inscribes himself into his people’s experience. At the same time, he remains fully aware—and helps raise our awareness—that no one person’s story can embody and represent the ancestral histories and the great worth and potential of all U.S. Latinos.

MARCO PORTALES, a professor of English at Texas A&M, holds a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author of a number of works, including the book Crowding Out Latinos.

What Readers Are Saying:

Latino Sun Rising: Our Spanish-Speaking U.S. World will make a contribution to the emerging field of autobiographical/memoir essays and testimonios in U.S. Latina/o literature. I believe that this collection of essays will be a welcome contribution to the growing body of book-length collection of essays about Latino cultural and public life that are both autobiographical as well as social and political in nature. The book will also advance discussion of the way in which early Mexican American autobiography, like much ethnic literature, contains a social critique that sheds light on the longstanding relationship between autobiography and the Latin American testimonio tradition. . . well-conceived, clearly organized, and lucidly written.”--Louis Mendoza, Associate Professor of English, University of Texas-San Antonio

“The author’s major contribution is to respond to the anti-Mexican essayists who have been more widely published than the Latino apologists. Richard Rodriguez and Linda Chavez are named as two darlings of the Anglo American literary world, who rationalize and justify the racist perspective of Latinos. Few Latino essayists have attempted to respond. Latino historians have presented a response to the Anglo perspective in history books. Latino educators have presented a counter argument to the anti-affirmative action and anti-bilingualism literature in scholarly works on pedagogy. But this is one of the first formal literary works to present a legitimate intellectual response for the Latino perspective in public policy and cultural issues. This book articulates the public policy issues in explicit terms, and it couches the Latino rationale in sensitive, evocative vignettes of mother, father, and family love in the Latino community. Specifically, this is the only book that promises to articulate the Latino community mind, and to do so in a Texas setting. The essays describe steamy, hot days in the lower Rio Grande Valley, summer vacations in Corpus Christi, and middle-class suburban life in Houston. Other similar works by Latinos are framed in California and New York . . .The author successfully contributes one of the few such book-length pro-Latino identity commentaries in a literary genre.” --Andres Tijerina, Austin Community College

Latino Sun Rising: Our Spanish-Speaking U.S. World will make a contribution to the emerging field of autobiographical/memoir essays and testimonios in U.S. Latina/o literature. I believe that this collection of essays will be a welcome contribution to the growing body of book-length collection of essays about Latino cultural and public life that are both autobiographical as well as social and political in nature. The book will also advance discussion of the way in which early Mexican American autobiography, like much ethnic literature, contains a social critique that sheds light on the longstanding relationship between autobiography and the Latin American testimonio tradition. . . well-conceived, clearly organized, and lucidly written.” --Louis Mendoza, Associate Professor of English, University of Texas-San Antoni

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