Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration

Alfredo Corchado. Bloomsbury, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-63286-554-0

Dallas Morning News correspondent Corchado draws in this multilayered chronicle of Mexican migration over the past three decades from the perspective of four Mexican-Americans living in Philadelphia in the 1980s. The book opens with a scene from the winter of 1987, inside a newly opened Mexican restaurant, where Corchado, then a young reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and his human rights activist friend Primo strike up a conversation about what it means to be Mexican-American with the restaurant owner, David Suro-Piñera, and Ken Trujillo, another patron, who was raised in New Mexico. That conversation has lasted more than 30 years, Corchado writes. The perspectives of these men in the decades since provide the framework for Corchado’s book as each man seeks a connection to his heritage through his life in America. David goes on to develop his own brand of tequila; Ken runs for mayor of Philadelphia and leads a successful career as a litigator; and Primo fights for causes on both sides of the border. Corchado tells his own story of working as a journalist covering the border region, and he also ruminates on the juxtaposition of acceptance and rejection that his fellow Mexican immigrants are shown by individuals, industries, and the government. In addition to providing historical context for the current debate on immigration, this book is a timely and personal meditation on the concept of “migrant” in the United States. (June)