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Carlos G. Vélez-IbáñezDavid Montejano's Sancho's Journal is a tour de force. I employ this overused phrase because it is the only one that appropriately captures this amazing and beautifully written creative journey that is, in fact, 'a feat requiring great virtuosity or strength, often deliberately undertaken for its difficulty.' Montejano is Sancho the chronicler who, after a thirty-year separation from his original fieldwork, returns to try to understand a small cultural and social space that is duplicated thousands of times worldwide and that consists of those most oppressed by economic and racialist ideologies and actions. These cultural and social spaces are made up of thousands, if not millions, seeking through their agencies to struggle against the forces of negation and reduction by which their basic humanity has been limited, constrained, and defined. Yet, like Don Quixote, they arise, as did the Brown Berets of the southwestern United States, from circumstances that undeniably would test the humanity of us all. Montejano gives us an unvarnished narrative of hope, struggle, and failure--the very marks of being human. But the work is also a revelatory ethnography that diligently marks the changes and shifts of the author in relation to the persons with whom he worked. This narrative is a personal history of the manner in which a social science has had to amend its reductionist premises to an engaged, unromantic, and grounded approach in which human beings, with all of their warts and failings, still strive for recognition and a place as part of the larger processes of political action. This work is one of virtuosity, in which the difficulty and complexity of the material could have drowned Montejano in romanticism or reductionist parody. This did not happen. Sancho's Journal will be known for its singular attention to truth and to understanding ourselves and those with whom we interact, whether as social scientists or as human beings.
— Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez, Regents' Professor and Director of the School of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University