"We Became Mexican American"

Upon my retirement in 2005, I began working full time on a much delayed writing project which is now complete as of August 20, 2012.  I'm referring to my latest book, We Became Mexican American: How Our Immigrant Family Survived to Pursue the American Dream (XLibris.com).  You may obtain it via my publisher's web page for my book, http://www2.xlibris.com/books/webimages/wd/111573/index.html, or you may also go to, www.Bookstore.XLibris.com. 

In my view, We Became Mexican American is a book that parallels and supplements textbooks that serve in the teaching of Chicano/Mexican-American Studies, immigration studies, and courses that examine the historical rise of the American West especially southern
California.  The pages in my book concentrate on my family residing in San Fernando, California, and so in this way the interested reader discovers how one family, at least, experienced the various phases of the Mexican American experience in the United States from about 1915 to 1970

I consider We Became Mexican American a mufti-faceted publication for the following reasons. 

a) First of all, it is the story of a family, my family, that begins with the earliest memories in our collected lore and so in this sense it is a family history.

b) Secondly, it is a collective biography because it is based on interviews I conducted of my viejos, my old folks, before they passed on.  I interlace recollections from my brothers and sisters when appropriate including my own.

c) Because We Became Mexican American is based on interviews I am also able to say that it represents an illustration of the use of interview material based on one family.  You might say it offers one model, at least, in the use of oral history and how interview material may be woven with additional sources into a historical or biographical narrative.  By using examples (parts of chapters, for example) your students can begin to appreciate their own family lore and how it might inform them about their own family past and who they've grown up to be especially if they come from recent immigrant roots. 

d) We Became Mexican American will hopefully be considered as an effort at local history too because it offers the reader a portrayal of what life was like for us Gil children growing up in the barrio of San Fernando, California, in the 1930s-1950s.  Local history represents a genre with a potential of enriching and better informing historical analyses often written at a higher level, the level of a region, or a nation.  For example,
you'll learn how my family experienced the Great Depression or the Repatriation Program, topics written about in most U.S. history books including Chicano/Mexican American textbooks.  These offer you a broad national or regional view and my book connects to them by offering a personal family perspective about those two important periods.

I will post more information and observations concerning my new book on this website in the near future especially about how it might help you in your classroom. 

Incidentally, if you have any questions about my website or with what I've written, let me know.  If you find any errors or mistakes in We Became Mexican American please don't hesitate to inform me about them; I'll make a note of them, give them their proper consideration, and make any corrections in a future edition.  Thank you