It is a pleasure to review this new title by the scholar whose first book launched my undergraduate scholarly path and shaped what eventually became my own book. Sánchez paints a fine-grained, rich portrait of a multiracial, multifaceted, vibrant community stretching from European conquest to contemporary battles over gentrification. Mining a wide variety of sources, including oral histories, photos, letters, government documents, and organizational records, Sánchez shows how the experiences and memories of Boyle Heights residents “contradicted the main tenets of white supremacy, as well as the logic of ethnic succession: that a working multiracial neighborhood was an impossibility because of deep ethnic and racial hatreds, as well as the economic and social competition for resources” (12). Instead, denizens organized across national and language differences and lived together in a way that “refused to fall in line with the highly segregated nature of society enacted by white supremacists and elites...
Review: Boyle Heights: How a Los Angeles Neighborhood Became the Future of American Democracy, by George J. Sánchez
SHANA BERNSTEIN is clinical associate professor of legal studies and director of the Program in American Studies at Northwestern University. She earned her PhD in history at Stanford University. Her first book, Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles, was published by Oxford University Press in 2011. She is a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and has received grants and fellowships from institutions including the Mellon Foundation, the Huntington Library, the Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. Her current book project is titled Strawberry Fields Forever? A Consumer, Worker, and Environmental History of the Most Toxic, Profitable, and Unsustainable Crop in America.
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Shana Bernstein; Review: Boyle Heights: How a Los Angeles Neighborhood Became the Future of American Democracy, by George J. Sánchez. California History 1 May 2022; 99 (2): 87–89. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ch.2022.99.2.87
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