Translation Nation

Translation Nation

Defining A New American Identity in the Spanish-speaking United States

Book - 2005
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Penguin Putnam
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar takes us on the definitive tour of the Spanish-speaking United States-a parallel nation, 35 million strong, that is changing the very notion of what it means to be an American in unprecedented and unexpected ways.

The year 2005 will mark Latino-Americans' first year as the largest minority in the United States. By the middle of the century, Spanish-speaking Americans will make up 25 percent of the population. Never before has a group been as poised to make so substantial an impact on American culture and identity. And not just in California and Texas-but also in Georgia, Alabama, New York, and Idaho. As a Guatemalan-American journalist, Héctor Tobar has grown up with and chronicled this parallel nation, surrounded by its people and their collective experiences, complexities, and contradictions. In Translation Nation he introduces us to its past, the present-and our future.

Tobar begins on familiar terrain, in his native Los Angeles, with his family's story, along with that of two brothers of Mexican origin with very different interpretations of Americanismo, or American identity as seen through a Latin American lens-one headed for U.S. citizenship and the other for the wrong side of the law and the south side of the border. But this is just a jumping-off point. Soon we are in Dalton, Georgia, the most Spanish-speaking town in the Deep South, and in Rupert, Idaho, where the most popular radio DJ is known as "El Chupacabras." By the end of the book, we have traveled from the geographical extremes into the heartland, exploring the familiar complexities of Cuban Miami and the brand-new ones of a busy Omaha INS station.

Sophisticated, provocative, and deeply human, Translation Nation uncovers the ways that Hispanic Americans are forging new identities, redefining the experience of the American immigrant, and reinventing the American community. It is a book that rises, brilliantly, to meet one of the most profound shifts in American identity.

Baker & Taylor
A tour of Spanish-American life informs readers on how its Spanish-speaking citizens are changing the notion of what it means to be a United States citizen in unexpected ways, citing the Spanish population's new role as the largest American minority, the author's own family history, and the complex variations of Spanish-American cultures from different geographical regions. 20,000 first printing.

Book News
Los Angeles-born novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tobar has served as an L.A.-based correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and currently lives in Argentina where he is the paper's Buenos Aires bureau chief. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he draws on his own experiences of growing up in L.A. and reporting about the Hispanic community in this semi-autobiographical look at the expanding Spanish-speaking population and how it is changing the face of communities across the U.S. No subject index. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Examines how Spanish-speaking people in the United States are changing the notion of "American" by citing their new role as the largest American minority, the author's family history, and complex variations of cultures.

Publisher: New York: Riverhead Books, 2005
ISBN: 9781573223058
Branch Call Number: 305.868 T551t 2005
Characteristics: 307 p. ; 24 cm


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