Latino U.S.A A cartoon history

Ilan Stavans

Book - 2000

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Subjects
Published
New York : Basic Books c2000.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
unknown
Physical Description
xv, 175 p. : chiefly ill. ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. 168-169) and index.
ISBN
0465082211
Main Author
Ilan Stavans (-)
Other Authors
Lalo López (-), Lalo Alcaraz
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Noted critic Stavans (The One Handed Pianist and Other Stories) and Chicano artist Alcaraz offer a breezy, quick-paced romp through Latin American history, beginning in 1492 and running through the present day. History lessons presented in a lecture style are often refuted by the satirical asides of minor characters, implying the writer's perspective while failing to offer hard facts. One of the characters is a talking skeleton, but what it represents isn't clear. The illustrations are black-and-white in a brush style, and the whole product has a hurried quality. Readers will get a feel for Latin American history as one of oppression by the dominant majority, but readers lacking prior knowledge or a similar perspective will find Stavans's argument clichéd and simplistic. Stephen Weiner, Maynard P.L., MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A cartoon history of the Latino experience in America serves up irreverent, hard-hitting, humorous socio-political commentary on everything from Manifest Destiny to Selena. 35,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Provides a pop art interpretation of American history, from 1492 to the present, from a Latino perspective.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A carnivalesque yet serious cartoon history of the Latino experience in the U.S.-irreverent, sweeping, political, and very funny.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Latino USA represents the culmination of Ilan Stavans's lifelong determination to meet the challenges of capturing the joys, nuances, and multiple dimensions of Latino culture within the context of the English language. In this cartoon history of Latinos, Stavans seeks to combine the solemnity of so-called "serious literature" and history with the inherently theatrical and humorous nature of the comics. The range of topics includes Columbus, Manifest Destiny, the Alamo, William Carlos Williams, Desi Arnaz, West Side Story, Castro, Guevera, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Neruda, García Márquez, the Mariel Boatlift, and Selena. Stavans represents Hispanic civilization as a fiesta of types, archetypes, and stereotypes. These "cliché figurines" include a toucan (displayed regularly in books by García Márquez, Allende, and others), the beloved Latino comedian Cantinflas (known as "the Hispanic Charlie Chaplin"), a masked wrestler, and Captain America. These multiple, at times contradictory voices, each narrating various episodes of Latino history from a unique perspective, combine to create a carnivalesque rhythm, democratic and impartial. For, as Stavans states, "History, of course, is a kaleidoscope where nothing is absolute." Latino USA, like the history it so entertainingly relates, is a dazzling kaleidoscope of irreverence, wit, subversion, anarchy, politics, humanism, celebration, and serious and responsible history.