America Libreby Raul Ramos y Sanchez
After years of anti-immigrant backlash, anger seethes in the nation's Latino communities. The crowded streets bristle with restless youth, idled by a deep recession. When undercover detectives in San Antonio accidentally kill a young Latina bystander during a botched drug bust, riots erupt across the Southwest. As the inner-city violence escalates, Anglo vigilantes
After years of anti-immigrant backlash, anger seethes in the nation's Latino communities. The crowded streets bristle with restless youth, idled by a deep recession. When undercover detectives in San Antonio accidentally kill a young Latina bystander during a botched drug bust, riots erupt across the Southwest. As the inner-city violence escalates, Anglo vigilantes strike back with shooting rampages. Exploiting the turmoil, a congressional demagogue succeeds in passing legislation that transforms the nation's Hispanic enclaves into walled-off Quarantine Zones. Citizens tagged Class H-those who are Hispanic, are married to a Hispanic, or have at least one grandparent of Hispanic origin-are forced into detention centers. Amid the chaos in his L.A. barrio, Manolo Suarez is out of work and struggling to support his growing family. But under the spell of a beautiful Latina radical, the former U.S. Army Ranger and decorated war veteran now finds himself questioning his loyalty to his wife-and to his country.
Sanchez's debut is a sweeping, intense novel of extremism, fear and consequences. In Los Angeles in the near future, tensions run high between Hispanics and Anglos, especially after the death of an innocent Latina bystander in Texas sparks nationwide riots. In need of a job, ex-Army Ranger Manolo "Mano" Suaraz joins La Defensa del Pueblo, started by wealthy Ramon Garcia to foster Hispanic unity in the face of Anglo violence. Despite his wife's growing reservations, Mano and the group are able to turn Hispanic gangs into allies against a common enemy. As violence and fear escalate-and are manipulated-"Quarantine Zones" and camps are created to segregate Hispanics from the general population. Mano, who dedicated his life to patriotism, sees his own country turn on him because of his heritage, disregarding his value as an individual. Originally self-published, Ramos y Sanchez's ambitious, cautionary tale poses questions without easy answers, but its flaw, ironically, is the lack of diversity, with all the characters being either Hispanic or Anglo. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Author
Cuban-born Raul Ramos y Sanchez grew up in Miami's cultural kaleidoscope before becoming a long-time resident of the U.S. Midwest. Following a successful 25-year advertising career that included founding an ad agency with offices in Ohio and California, Raul turned to more personally meaningful work. HOUSE DIVIDED is the second book of the AMERICA LIBRE trilogy, which Ramos began in 2004 with the input of scholars from the USA, Latin America and Spain. Besides developing a documentary for public television, Two Americas: The Legacy of our Hemisphere, Raul writes for a variety of publications and hosts MyIimmigrationStory.com - an online forum for the U.S. immigrant community. To find out more, visit www.RaulRamos.com.
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Frankly, when I first picked up America Libre I didn't know what to expect. I suspected it might be very militant and inflammatory in its perspective; a call for violent revolution. But actually, quite the opposite is true. America Libre is a passionate cry for tolerance, understanding and moderation. Raul Ramos y Sanchez's saga is a plea for justice and sanity.and perhaps most of all, a sobering cautionary tale. It urges us all to remember the genuine principles upon which our great nation was founded. The book is also one helluva read. The characterization is rich and complex, and the story takes the reader on a pulse-quickening and frightening journey into an American heart of darkness that becomes disturbingly more plausible with each passing day. The lead character, Manolo Suarez, is a man who has served his country honorably only to find a world gone mad in which there are virtually no options left for him and his family. The gut-wrenching choices he is forced to make serve as the crux of the novel. America Libre is a landmark, thought-provoking work. The novel raises a red flag. And it reminds us that if we do not remain vigilant, that flag could someday turn out to be red, white and blue. I urge you to read it. And think about it.
In El Paso, a cop shoots and kills a Latina youth. The Hispanic community in the border city is outraged and rioting occurs. The Texas Governor calls in the National Guard to quell the riots and prevent looting. Shots are fired and twenty-three Latinas are killed. Across the country there is horror from many quarters and defense of the use of force from others. However, Latinas explode in outrage. In Los Angeles tensions between Hispanics and Anglos are boiling over with every incident and rumor escalating the tension. Wealthy Ramon Garcia creates the La Defensa del Pueblo to protect Hispanics from the Anglo backlash. Unemployed former Army Ranger Manolo "Mano" Suaraz is one of the veterans who enlist over the objection of his frightened wife as he obtains work as a bodyguard. Soon La Defensa del Pueblo begins to ally with local Hispanic gangs. Civil war seems imminent as the government sets up "Quarantine Zones" and internment camps to isolate Hispanics from the general population. This is an exciting timely tale that makes a strong warning to beware of the fast growing populace turning angry. The case Ramos y Sanchez makes is supported by the potential backlash to the anti-immigration assault and the Judge Sotomeier attacks. Although no exploration into how other races like Asian-Americans and African-Americans, or foreign countries or terrorist groups react to the American racial civil war, fans enjoy Ramos y Sanchez's entertaining but admonitory thriller that avers liberty and libre are the same or else. Harriet Klausner
AMERICA LIBRE Paul Ramos Y Sanchez Grand Central Publishing $13.99 - paperback ISBN: 978-0-446-50775-2 353 pages Reviewer: Annie Slessman Paul Ramos Y Sanchez has written a powerful book in AMERICA LIBRE. A story that outlines what can happen to law abiding citizens when the state of the economy is such that jobs are few if not non-existent and idleness turns to destruction. Manolo Suarez just wants to provide for his family and keep them safe in the barrio of Los Angeles, California. After working years as a mechanic for a local auto dealership he has lost his job as so many other have and spends each day trying to feed his family. He takes on a new job with a recycling company and is surprised when he is paid his salary without putting in the hours and effort Manolo expects to contribute. He finds himself in the front office reading disturbing literature about the awakening of a Hispanic movement who believes the government and people of America is targeting their people for failure. Manolo was born in the U.S. and is a decorated soldier who fought for his country. His beliefs are shaken when children of a neighbor are killed when riots occur in his neighborhood. Indeed the entire Southwestern United States is embroiled in a civil war that tests Manolo and his peaceful beliefs. When Manolo is hired by a Hispanic resistance group as their security officer, he finds he is capable of more violence than he perceived. The story is a heart-wrenching account of Manolo's struggle with the violence that surrounds him and how he adapts to that struggle. The characters are strong, believable and too often, recognizable in today's society. This book is a good read and will be followed with Manolo's continuing struggle in the sequel, EL NUEVO ALAMO.