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CriticasIn addition to this book, which was first published in English in 1991, Perez wrote Diary of a Guerrilla (1999), a personal testimony about his experience as a guerrilla combatant in Mexico fighting to reclaim the ancestral communal lands of Oaxaca. This first-person account, the original Spanish version of Perez's first book, focuses on the author's journey to the United States as a young, undocumented immigrant. After experiencing some problems crossing the border, he finally arrives in the United States, where he holds a succession of menial jobs in Houston and San Antonio, and later in Oregon, where he harvests strawberries. Perez adds substance to the narrative by providing the historical background behind the waves of immigration between the two countries, focusing especially on the Bracero program in the early 1940s, which allowed thousands of impoverished Mexicans to work as farm laborers in the United States. He also uses and interprets terminology peculiar to the undocumented worker, such as coyote, a man who takes people across the border to their city of destination for a hefty fee, and the much cheaper patero, who merely guides the immigrants across the river. Finally, the author exposes the ironies of immigration. After returning to Mexico, he has to bribe some customs officials so that he can keep the carpentry tools he has brought for his father's shop. Although at times the stories about the characters he meets seem more like digressions than an integral part of the narrative, this is generally a worthwhile book. Highly recommended for public libraries and bookstores.
—Sonia Merubia, Benson Latin American Collection, Univ. of Texas, Austin Copyright 2003 ReedBusiness Information.