Books by Ilan Stavans

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His latest books include Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language and The Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature.


A MOST IMPERFECT UNION by Ilan Stavans
HISTORY
Released: June 6, 2014

"A history book that wants to be Howard Zinn's A People's History of American Empire but comes off more like Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the United States with more savvy jokes."
Prolific intellectual Stavans and collaborative artist Alcaraz follow up and expand their first exploration of American culture (Latino USA: A Cartoon History, 2000, etc.) to examine the secret history of the United States of America. Read full book review >
GOLEMITO by Ilan Stavans
Released: July 1, 2013

"This competent picture book addresses the problem of bullying and offers an original, if not completely successful, blend of Jewish and Aztec culture and folklore. (Picture book. 7-11)"
Stavans presents the story of Sammy and Ilan, two Jewish boys living in Southern California, who combine their individual strengths to face bullying. Read full book review >
EL ILUMINADO by Ilan Stavans
Released: Nov. 13, 2012

"Another bold, if gratuitous, experiment from an academic with impeccable credentials and a keen sense of the secrets we hold most dear."
What do you get when you cross a Mexican-born Jewish intellectual with the creator of the Rabbi Harvey comics? Surprise—it's a most unusual conspiracy thriller. Read full book review >
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Nov. 1, 2012

"Too scholarly for some readers, but Stavans provides a relevant, fresh point of view."
Born in Mexico City and educated in a Yiddish-language school, Stavans (Latin American and Latino Culture/Amherst Coll.; Gabriel García Márquez: The Early Years, 2010, etc.) collects some of his journalistic output as a deeply engaged cultural observer. Read full book review >
GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ by Ilan Stavans
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 5, 2010

"Excellent. Longtime students of García Márquez will find fresh insights, and Stavans provides an excellent introduction for those readers new to the master's work."
Illuminating study of the first writings of Colombian literary giant best known for One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967). Read full book review >
RESURRECTING HEBREW by Ilan Stavans
Released: Sept. 30, 2008

"A gem for readers interested in Hebrew and the politics of language."
A personal and intellectual search for the history of modern Hebrew. Read full book review >
DICTIONARY DAYS by Ilan Stavans
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: April 1, 2005

"Delicious little essays of powerful intellectual curiosity."
Charming, loose-fitting essays about the sublime and silly pleasures of reading the dictionary. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 11, 2005

"An unusual anthology, then, well worth dipping into."
Accounts of religious persecution and exile, plus assertions of ethnic pride, dominate these 28 prose and verse selections: a collection representing the multinational minority culture that sprung from the 1492 expulsion of Spain's Jews. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"A penetrating analysis of the displacement and internal divisions created by linguistic adaptation, but undermined by a rickety narrative structure."
An often sophisticated, more frequently discursive memoir on transnational and translingual migration from Mexican-born critic and scholar Stavans (Latino U.S.A., 2000, etc.). Read full book review >
LATINO U.S.A. by Ilan Stavans
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"Despite some odd byways, and an occasional clumsy sentence, a cartoon history for everyone: painless, witty, and inviting."
Educational comics have an honorable history, forged in the US by the visual didact Larry Gornick, and in Latin America by Rius, to whom Stavans (Amherst) and his artist collaborator pay tribute in their cartoon overview of Latin culture's relation to the US. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1999

"The border breaks down at this collection's core. No matter how resonant the metaphor, the writers Stavans has gathered do not address cultural and political divisions as directly as the omnipresent links between power, language, and art."
A collection of "piezas de ocasion" - slim essays, reviews and prologues by South American writers looking north, and North American writers looking south. Read full book review >
THE OXFORD BOOK OF JEWISH STORIES by Ilan Stavans
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1998

"A landmark anthology."
A generous collection of 52 stories from Europe, Africa, and the Americas that spans two centuries. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1998

"This high-concept anthology helpfully showcases several other lesser-known writers as well - and joins Oxford's Book of Latin American Short Stories (1997) as one of the best currently available volumes in its field."
($17.95 paperback original; May; 327 pp.; 1-880684-49-7): A bilingual collection of 16 approximately contemporary stories chosen as their favorites by such esteemed translators as Gregory Rabassa, Edith Grossman, and Helen Lane. Read full book review >
NEW WORLD by Ilan Stavans
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

The pangs of cultural dislocation and the pressures imposed by both rural and urban poverty are central themes in this generous anthology of 23 stories by mostly unfamiliar Hispanic-American writers. Read full book review >
THE ONE-HANDED PIANIST by Ilan Stavans
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

"The impulse behind these fictions is sometimes strongly felt, but their development is murky and inchoate: They all read like component parts of a single semi-coherent, perhaps unfinishable story."
A first collection of stories, including a novella and also an autobiographical essay, from the Mexican-born critic best known for his journalism and nonfiction studies of Latino history and culture (such as The Hispanic Condition, p. 151). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 1995

A deeply considered essay on the Chicano movement's worldly Aquinas. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: March 1, 1995

"Despite a tendency to get lost in esoteric byways, an engagingly ambitious tour of Latino culture, notable for its formidable breadth."
Part history and part cultural encyclopedia, a sophisticated- -sometimes too sophisticated—discussion of Latino identity as displayed in art, literature, and popular culture. Read full book review >