Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution

Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution

by Peter Matthiessen, Ilan Stavans
     
 

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In the summer of 1968 Peter Matthiessen met Cesar Chavez for the first time. They were the same age: forty-one. Matthiessen lived in New York City while Chavez lived in Sal Si Puedes, the San Jose barrio where his career as a union organizer took off. This book is Matthiessen's panoramic yet finely detailed account of the three years he spent traveling and…  See more details below

Overview


In the summer of 1968 Peter Matthiessen met Cesar Chavez for the first time. They were the same age: forty-one. Matthiessen lived in New York City while Chavez lived in Sal Si Puedes, the San Jose barrio where his career as a union organizer took off. This book is Matthiessen's panoramic yet finely detailed account of the three years he spent traveling and working with Chavez. In it, Matthiessen provides a candid look into the many sides of this enigmatic and charismatic leader who lived by the laws of nonviolence.

More than thirty years later, Sal Si Puedes is less reportage than living history. A whole era comes alive in its pages: the Chicano, Black Power, and antiwar movements; the browning of the labor movement; Chavez's series of hunger strikes; the nationwide boycott of California grapes. When Chavez died in 1993, thousands gathered at his funeral. It was a clear sign of how beloved he was, how important his life had been.

A new postscript by the author brings the reader up to date as to the events that have unfolded since the writing of Sal Si Puedes. Ilan Stavans's insightful foreword considers the significance of Chavez's legacy for our time. As well as serving as an indispensable guide to the 1960s, this book rejuvenates the extraordinary vitality of Chavez's life and spirit, giving his message a renewed and much-needed urgency.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520225848
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
12/18/2000
Pages:
385
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.83(d)

Read an Excerpt

From the book:
The man who has threatened California has an Indian's bow nose and lank black hair, with sad eyes and an open smile that is shy and friendly; at moments he is beautiful, like a dark seraph. He is five feet six inches tall, and since his twenty-five-day fast the previous winter, has weighed no more than one hundred and fifty pounds. Yet the word "slight" does not properly describe him. There is an effect of being centered in himself so that no energy is wasted, an effect of density; at the same time, he walks as lightly as a fox. One feels immediately that this man does not stumble, and that to get where he is going he will walk all day.

Meet the Author


Winner of the National Book Award and the American Book Award, Peter Matthiessen is the author of over fifteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Snow Leopard (1978), At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1965), Far Tortuga (1975), In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1992), and Bone by Bone (1999). Ilan Stavans teaches at Amherst College. He is the author of The Hispanic Condition (1995), Art and Anger (1996), and The Riddle of Cantinflas (1998), and editor of The Oxford Book of Latin American Essays (1997).

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