"Traveling across the country, journalist Karla Cornejo Villavicencio risked arrest at every turn to report the extraordinary stories of her fellow undocumented Americans. Her subjects have every reason to be wary around reporters, but Cornejo Villavicencio has unmatched access to their stories. Her work culminates in a stunning, essential read for our times. Born in Ecuador and brought to the United States when she was five years old, Cornejo Villavicencio has lived the American Dream. Raised on her father's deliveryman income, she later became one of the first undocumented students admitted into Harvard. She is now a doctoral candidate at Yale University and has written for The New York Times. She weaves her own story among those of the eleven million undocumented who have been thrust into the national conversation today as never before. Looking well beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMERS, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented as rarely seen in our daily headlines. In New York, we meet the undocumented workers who were recruited in the federally funded Ground Zero cleanup after 9/11. In Miami we enter the hidden botanicas, which offer witchcraft and homeopathy to those whose status blocks them from any other healthcare options. In Flint, Michigan, we witness how many live in fear as the government issues raids at grocery stores and demands identification before offering life-saving clean water. In her book, Undocumented America, Cornejo Villavicencio powerfully reveals the hidden corners of our nation of immigrants. She brings to light remarkable stories of hope and resilience, and through them we come to understand what it truly means to be American"– provided by publisher.
Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration. New York, London, Oxford: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract.
"When Alfredo Corchado moved to Philadelphia in 1987, he felt as if he was the only Mexican in the city. But in a restaurant called Tequilas, he connected with two other Mexican men and one Mexican American, all feeling similarly isolated. Over the next three decades, the four friends continued to meet, coming together over their shared Mexican roots and their love of tequila. One was a radical activist, another a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, the third a lawyer/politician. Alfredo himself was a young reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Homelands merges the political and the personal, telling the story of the last great Mexican migration through the eyes of four friends at a time when the Mexican population in the United States swelled from 700,000 people during the 1970s to more than 35 million people today. It is the narrative of the United States in a painful economic and political transition. As we move into a divisive, nativist new era of immigration politics, Homelands is a must-read to understand the past and future of the immigrant story in the United States, and the role of Mexicans in shaping America's history. A deeply moving book full of colorful characters searching for home, it is essential reading."
Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth. New York: Scribner, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract.
"During Sarah Smarsh's turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the country's changing economic policies solidified her family's place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to examine the class divide in our country and the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness. Born a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side, Smarsh grew up in a family of laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty. Whether working the wheat harvest, helping on her dad's construction sites, or visiting her grandma's courthouse job, she learned about hard work. She also absorbed painful lessons about economic inequality. Through her experience growing up as the child of a dissatisfied teenage mother--and being raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita--she gives us a unique, essential look into the lives of poor and working-class Americans living in the middle of our country. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland is an uncompromising look at class, identity, and the particular perils of having less in a country known for its excess. "--Dust jacket.
In the Country of Women: A Memoir. New York: Catapult, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract.
"In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a self-proclaimed book nerd, and Dwayne Sims, an African American basketball player, started dating in high school. After college, they married and drove to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Once back in Riverside, at driveway barbecues and fish fries with the large, close-knit Sims family, Straight--and eventually her three daughters--heard for decades the stories of Dwayne's female ancestors. Some women escaped violence in post-slavery Tennessee, some escaped murder in Jim Crow Mississippi, and some fled abusive men. Straight's mother-in-law, Alberta Sims, is the descendant at the heart of this memoir. Susan's family, too, reflects the hardship and resilience of women pushing onward--from Switzerland, Canada, and the Colorado Rockies to California. A Pakistani word, biraderi, is one Straight uses to define a complex system of kinship and clan--those who become your family. An entire community helped raise her daughters. Of her three girls, now grown and working in museums and the entertainment industry, Straight writes, "The daughters of our ancestors carry in their blood at least three continents. We are not about borders. We are about love and survival." In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and indomitable women." -- from Jacket.
The Undocumented Americans. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract.
Letters to My White Male Friends. First edition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract.
"In A Letter to My White Male Friends, Dax-Devlon Ross speaks directly to the millions of middle-aged white men who are suddenly awakening to race and racism. Finally, white men are realizing that simply not being racist isn't enough to end racism. These men want deeper insight not only into how racism has harmed black people, but, for the first time, into how it has harmed them. They are beginning to see that racism warps us all. A Letter to My White Male Friends promises to help the millions of white men who have said they are committed to change and develop the capacity to see, feel and sustain that commitment so they can help secure racial justice for us all. In part 1, Dax-Devlon Ross helps readers understand what it meant to be America's first generation raised after the civil rights era. He explains how we were all educated with colorblind narratives and symbols that typically, albeit implicitly, privileged whiteness and denigrated blackness. He provides the context and color of his own experiences in white schools so that white men can revisit moments in their lives where racism was in the room even when they didn't see it enter. In part 2, Ross shows how learning to see the harm that racism did to him, and forgiving himself, gave him the empathy to see the harm it does to white people as well. In part 3, he offers white men direction so that they can take just action in their workplace, community, family, and, most importantly, in themselves, especially in the future when race is no longer in the spotlight"-- Provided by publisher.