Wide-ranging and compelling interviews with Latinas who are making a difference in Wisconsin.



Midwestern Latina activists share their stories in a book introduced by Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the group that became the United Farmworkers.

In this collection of oral histories from two dozen female leaders of Wisconsin’s Latinx community, collected as part of a statewide research project, Arenas and Gómez show the community’s diversity while celebrating people who have pushed for progress in education, health care, and workers’ and tenants’ rights, among other causes. In her foreword, the much-honored Huerta, the co-founder with César Chavez of the forerunner of the United Farmworkers, tells how she found her llamda, or calling. The rest of the book consists mainly of edited interviews with the featured women and a brief concluding section focused on themes found throughout the project. The activists interviewed represent a range of ethnicities and origins as well as varied careers and interests. Some of the women are immigrants, while others are U.S.-born. Many are of Mexican or Puerto Rican descent, but the book also includes women of Salvadoran, Cuban, and Spanish heritage; some grew up in poverty and others in middle-class families. The women discuss their identification as activists, the causes that motivated them to get involved, and their successes and challenges. While the book does not offer a fully comprehensive view of Latinas’ contributions to Wisconsin—the project criteria required women to be 50 or older when interviewed, so younger women are absent—it does an excellent job of presenting the community’s history in an engaging format that reflects the diversity of experiences in the region. One of the book’s strengths is the wealth of detail in the women’s stories. Musician Lupita Béjar Verbeten describes the protest songs she performed on behalf of farmworkers and laid-off employees. Maria Dolores Cruz recalls her unsuccessful but satisfying campaign for the state senate. And Carmen De La Paz explains how her individual activism evolved into a family-wide involvement in the community. The women’s stories are interesting and enlightening, and readers will appreciate their perspective on a group that tends to be underrepresented in books about the Midwest.

Wide-ranging and compelling interviews with Latinas who are making a difference in Wisconsin.

Pub Date: May 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-87020-859-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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