Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino”

MCD. May 2023. 256p. Tr $27. ISBN 9780374609900.
Tobar’s (The Last Great Road Bum) meditation on what it means to be Latinx—a term the author deems as imprecise as it is transitory—in America is a rousing, brilliantly written book that defies genre. It is at times a memoir, at others a plea for mainstream America to recognize the essential roles that immigrants and the families of immigrants play in the infrastructure of American life, and at others a deeply researched and erudite exploration of American history through the lens of what it means to be an immigrant in this country. This book is a must-read for anyone who calls themselves an American, regardless of their “legal status.” Tobar expertly paints a picture of the complexity of Latinx identity as well as intersecting identities (such as Blaxican, Nuyorican, or “Cuban and Canadian Irish, from Vancouver”) that make up the diaspora of migrants and their families. It is an exploration of an oft-ignored or infantilized “race” of people who are treated as an undercaste of American society. This should be mandatory reading for anyone who champions human rights.
VERDICT Purchase for all American history, biography, and ethnic studies collections.

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