State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream

State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream

by Jeff Biggers
     
 

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Arizona has gone wild—over immigration, guns, healthcare, the Tea Party, and vigilantism. Award-winning author and Arizona local Jeff Biggers reports on what’s troubling our 48th state, and how a radicalized Arizona has become a national bellwether.See more details below

Overview


Arizona has gone wild—over immigration, guns, healthcare, the Tea Party, and vigilantism. Award-winning author and Arizona local Jeff Biggers reports on what’s troubling our 48th state, and how a radicalized Arizona has become a national bellwether.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Arizona’s nativist Right gets pilloried in this feisty, very partisan chronicle of the state’s immigration politics. Journalist Biggers (The United States of Appalachia) investigates controversial initiatives by Arizona’s Tea Party�influenced state government, including the notorious SB 1070 “papers, please” law cracking down on undocumented immigrants, moves to ban high school Mexican-American studies programs, and bills to bar the undocumented from schools and hospitals. His narrative revolves around colorful, acid-etched profiles of Gov. Jan Brewer, former State Senator Russell Pearce, two-fisted sheriff Joe Arpaio, and other Arizona conservatives who he gleefully skewers. Biggers sets his muckraking account of the anti-immigrant camp against a plodding hagiography of progressive, labor, and Latino activism, replete with “leaders who had worked tirelessly to rescue the state from radical right-wing interlopers, political carpetbaggers, and corporate powers over the past century.” In his cross-hairs, the anti-immigrant forces appear only as bigots and buffoons, neo-Nazis, murderers, descendants of murderers, and traffic scofflaws, while their opponents are righteous populists. Biggers unearths some interesting Arizona history and builds a sharp, if haphazard, case against contradictions in the anti-immigrant position, but his soap-boxing makes for a one-sided take on issues that deserve a fuller treatment. Photos. Agent: Ellen Geiger. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

Reason“State Out of the Union is a genuinely interesting investigation into the stark…nativism that has driven Arizona politics recently…. Biggers capably documents the extent to which nativism permeates Arizona politics and molds its political leaders.” Three Sonorans“State Out of the Union…is the must-read book of the 2012 election to understand not just where we are today, but where we are headed in the near future using our history as a guide.” Publishers Weekly“[F]eisty….Biggers unearths some interesting Arizona history and builds a sharp…case against contradictions in the anti-immigrant position.” Kirkus Reviews“[Biggers’] extensive evidence gives the book authenticity….A timely book, especially with immigration policy playing a major role in the upcoming presidential campaign.” Publishers Weekly“Perhaps no issue captures better what it means to be American than the contentious legislative debate around who can become American. Certainly, that question will be a major part of the November election, and into the fray comes an examination of the controversial policies and practices in Arizona: State Out of the Union.” Luis Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and The Hummingbird’s Daughter“Jeff Biggers has the unblinking gaze of the honed journalist, a novelist’s sense of image and story, and a prophet’s cache of outrage. He stands in my very short list of American literary heroes. With his new book, Biggers shows us he can write anything—and do it well. His aim is true.”
Shelf Awareness
“[A]s a matter of cultural and historical record, State Out of the Union leaves readers with much to consider.”

Iowa City Press-Citizen“A scathing critique of [Arizona’s] current politics and history….Biggers’ investigative research and boots-on-the ground journalism — not to mention his thorough knowledge of Arizona’s tri-cultural heritage of American Indian, Hispanic American and European American history — provide readers with an in-depth understanding of the state’s controversial past and present….His historical and political conclusions are the most damning ever published about Arizona’s short history as a state.” Shelf Awareness“[A]s a matter of cultural and historical record, State Out of the Union leaves readers with much to consider.”

Library Journal
“[M]ixing memoir, journalism, and history, Biggers narrates a people-focused multicultural story of clashing cycles of nativism and openness in a struggle for community recognition, citizenship rights, and humanity in what has become a militarized borderland…. [A] pivotal issue for national consideration…[a] compelling reading during a national election season and beyond.”

The Progressive

"[A] sweeping chronicle of Arizona."

El Paso Times
"As the country struggles to deal with immigration, civil rights and what it means to be an American, State Out of the Union serves as a guide to the cultural showdown that now seems inevitable."

Kirkus Reviews
Investigation of Arizona politicians who Biggers (Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland, 2010, etc.) believes are anti-immigration, partly because of racism and partly because they are beholden to corporate agendas. The author grew up in Arizona, noticing early in life that political and corporate leaders built on the narrative of the Wild West to thumb their noses at government intervention on matters of civil rights. Gov. Janice Brewer is one of many power brokers criticized by Biggers as a fearmonger and liar. Although the author's language is sometimes intemperate, his extensive evidence gives the book authenticity. Biggers worries that other state legislators and governors will push inhumane and perhaps illegal legislation to drive immigrants back to Mexico. Although most of the book focuses on the past decade, the author is masterful at showing how the past is prologue. At one stage, numerous Arizonans would have rejected statehood because they worried the federal government would force them to combine with New Mexico, a territory populated by Hispanics. As he guides readers through Arizona's unusual path to settlement and then statehood, Biggers explains how carpetbaggers from the East Coast and other distant locales moved to Arizona to avoid winter weather and the melting-pot populations. As the ambitious carpetbaggers gained political power, often as Republican Party partisans, they sought a punitive rather than empathetic government. Biggers champions activists such as Cesar Chavez, who organized exploited immigrant laborers. A timely book, especially with immigration policy playing a major role in the upcoming presidential campaign.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568587028
Publisher:
Nation Books
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Reason“State Out of the Union is a genuinely interesting investigation into the stark…nativism that has driven Arizona politics recently…. Biggers capably documents the extent to which nativism permeates Arizona politics and molds its political leaders.” Three Sonorans“State Out of the Union…is the must-read book of the 2012 election to understand not just where we are today, but where we are headed in the near future using our history as a guide.” Publishers Weekly“[F]eisty….Biggers unearths some interesting Arizona history and builds a sharp…case against contradictions in the anti-immigrant position.” Kirkus Reviews“[Biggers’] extensive evidence gives the book authenticity….A timely book, especially with immigration policy playing a major role in the upcoming presidential campaign.” Publishers Weekly“Perhaps no issue captures better what it means to be American than the contentious legislative debate around who can become American. Certainly, that question will be a major part of the November election, and into the fray comes an examination of the controversial policies and practices in Arizona: State Out of the Union.” Luis Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and The Hummingbird’s Daughter“Jeff Biggers has the unblinking gaze of the honed journalist, a novelist’s sense of image and story, and a prophet’s cache of outrage. He stands in my very short list of American literary heroes. With his new book, Biggers shows us he can write anything—and do it well. His aim is true.”
Shelf Awareness
“[A]s a matter of cultural and historical record, State Out of the Union leaves readers with much to consider.”

Iowa City Press-Citizen“A scathing critique of [Arizona’s] current politics and history….Biggers’ investigative research and boots-on-the ground journalism — not to mention his thorough knowledge of Arizona’s tri-cultural heritage of American Indian, Hispanic American and European American history — provide readers with an in-depth understanding of the state’s controversial past and present….His historical and political conclusions are the most damning ever published about Arizona’s short history as a state.” Shelf Awareness“[A]s a matter of cultural and historical record, State Out of the Union leaves readers with much to consider.”

Library Journal
“[M]ixing memoir, journalism, and history, Biggers narrates a people-focused multicultural story of clashing cycles of nativism and openness in a struggle for community recognition, citizenship rights, and humanity in what has become a militarized borderland…. [A] pivotal issue for national consideration…[a] compelling reading during a national election season and beyond.”

Read More

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