Jun 24 2014

A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” The question is which people have decided. Bonaparte, the French conqueror, had the power to shape how history would treat him. But what of all the ordinary people who labored, and suffered, and died from the actions of victors and emperors? A new book called A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States, by Ilan Stavans, and Lalo Alcaraz, claims to put forth a history of the early United States told from the perspective of ordinary people.

The book is described in this way: “Enough with the dead white men! Forget what you learned in school! Ever since Columbus–who was probably a converted Jew–“discovered” the New World, the powerful and privileged have usurped American history. The true story of the United States lies not with the founding fathers or robber barons, but with the country’s most overlooked and marginalized peoples: the workers, immigrants, housewives, and slaves who built America from the ground up and made this country what it is today.”

GUEST: Lalo Alcaraz, writer, artist, and a cartoonist and creator of La Cucaracha, the first nationally syndicated, politically themed Latino daily comic strip, and a regular contributor to the LA Weekly and host of the KPFK weekly radio show, “Pocho Hour of Power.” He is also a faculty member at the Otis College of Art and Design. He has won numerous awards for his work including the Latino Spirit Award. A Most Imperfect Union is the second book he has done with Ilan Stavans, who is a Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. Their first book was called Latino USA.

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