A thoughtful, if occasionally strident, account of a neglected aspect of Nixon’s presidency.

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A Chicano in the White House


A panoramic historical study of President Richard Nixon’s handling of Hispanic affairs, as told by a former White House insider.

In his debut, Ramirez, offers a historical tour de force. Part scholarly study, part ringing celebration of Hispanic-American success, the work is also an intensely personal account of his own evolution as a man juggling dual Mexican and American identities. The analytical meat of the book defends Nixon as the president who effected the most profound changes for the Hispanic community, which began to swell in the United States following World War II. Ramirez focuses on Nixon’s impact on the Mexican population, a “sleeping giant” that quickly catapulted into a major American demographic. “Nixon was the man who grew up with us Mexicans. He knew us, cared about us, and included us,” Ramirez writes. “Let history show that he was the only president who really and truly gave a damn for the Mexicans.” Discussing largely forgotten political operatives such as Robert Finch, Counselor to the President, and Martin Castillo, first Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Opportunities for Spanish Speaking People, the author persuasively makes a case that Nixon, rather than his predecessors Kennedy and Johnson, was truly devoted to the precarious plight of Hispanic-Americans. Sidestepping some of Nixon’s infamous failings, the analysis sometimes borders on hagiographic. Also, it can be a bit self-referential, detailing maybe too meticulously the author’s privileged vantage point (a lengthy section of the book is entitled “Why I am the One Who Can Tell the Story”). Ramirez bluntly informs readers that the book is “a sine qua non for understanding the rise of the Chicanos and Nixon’s part in it,” and his arguments are well-articulated and rigorously sourced, including extensive appendices of pertinent documents.

A thoughtful, if occasionally strident, account of a neglected aspect of Nixon’s presidency.

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615821931

Page Count: 474

Publisher: Henry M. Ramirez

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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