Forged under the Sun/Forjada bajo el sol: The Life of Maria Elena Lucas

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 89%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (31) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $6.46   
  • Used (27) from $1.99   


The compelling oral history of a remarkable woman's life and political struggle.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lucas, a Chicana farm worker, organizer and poet, has lived a dramatic and arduous life, as exemplified in the song she wrote that provides the book's title. Oral historian Buss ( Dignity: Lower Income Women Tell of Their Lives and Struggles ) has sensitively integrated Lucas's diaries with her spoken memories, and included an introduction that provides context about life in the Rio Grande River Valley on the Texas-Mexico border, where Lucas has spent much of her life. Lucas recalls her early ignorance of any existence beyond poverty and how, knowing nothing of sex, she married at 15, only to find her husband violent. After leaving him and moving to an Illinois farming community, she organized a store boycott and a cultural festival. In 1981, she began her formal organizing career with the United Farm Workers in Illinois. Back in Texas, in 1988 she was sprayed with pesticides from a crop-dusting plane; two years later, in fragile health but still organizing, she won a small settlement. While Lucas's story is an inspiring one of grit and hope, she is hardly starry-eyed, recognizing how sexism persists in the larger society, her community and the union. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Library Journal
Maria Elena Lucas grew up in a Mexican American migrant farm family of 16 children in the Rio Grande Valley linking Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico. In this narrative, Lucas tells of being poor most of her life, with an abusive father, a submissive and superstitious mother, and a husband and tyrannical mother-in-law who treated her like a servant and forced her to take care of the household for an extended family even while raising seven children of her own. She experienced physical and verbal abuse as she tried to cope with the attitudes toward women in Mexican culture and the racism, farm labor exploitation, and sexual harassment in American culture. While working as a migrant in Onarga, Illinois, she became a successful organizer for Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers Union. Her deep religious beliefs and the poems and plays she wrote gave Lucas the strength to rise above the senseless cruelty to become a writer, artist, and activist in women's causes. This is truly a moving autobiography of an extraordinary woman.-- Irwin Weintraub, Rutgers Univ. Libs., Pis cataway, N.J.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472064328
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/1993
  • Series: Women and Culture Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,025,797
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Making of a Farm Worker Woman
Prologue: Birth of a Metaphor 47
1 A Child of Promise 51
2 Girlhood in the Northern Fields 69
3 In the Back of the Class 83
4 Take Your Pleadings to the Lord 89
5 Tamed by the Monkey Demon 97
6 Coming of Age: Shame and Terror 105
7 The Child Weds: Learning to Think like a Married Woman 113
8 Motherhood and Misery 125
9 Caretaker of the Extended Family 137
10 Opportunity and Betrayal 143
Pt. 2 Committed and Female within the Farm Worker Movement
11 On Her Own: Life as a Single Parent 153
12 The Hardships of the North 165
13 Everything Shall Come to Pass: The Loss of Children 173
14 A Sacred Call to Action 181
15 To Live on Our Feet: Organizing the People 191
16 "Nosotros Venceremos" 211
17 Exhaustion and Retreat 219
18 Mujeres Valientes: Union Organizing for FLOC 225
19 Retrenchment in Texas 235
20 Yellow Rain 243
21 The 1988 Campaign: Commitment, Disappointment, and Resignation 251
Pt. 3 Contemporary Border Life, Self-Expression, and Religious and Political Action and Theory
22 Life among the Defeated 263
23 A Different Madre de Cristo: Changing the Roles of Males and Females 277
24 On the Wings of the Black Eagle: The Creative Impulse 289
25 As the Sun Sets and the Beast Falls: The Creation of the Third Testament 297
Epilogue 303
Appendix 305
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2002

    I felt like I was living it..

    This book is very realistic . when I was reading this book I felt like I was right there with her going through all the things that she went through. I have read alot of books but this one just blew me away. I recomend for every one to read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)