Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Basing her book on interviews, Vasquez (Univ. of Kansas) focuses on the racial identity formation and incorporation trajectories of three generations of California Mexican American families, exploring the extent to which Mexican Americans experience themselves as a race rather than an ethnic group and the reasons for generation-wise change or persistence. Telling a story about the process of racialization despite assimilation, the in-depth qualitative study illuminates the complex manners of how and why the family's perspective and sociostructural position influences or limits cultural retention and/or assimilation. Vasquez identifies two ways of incorporating middle-class Mexican American families into the US: an upwardly mobile "thinned attachment" family, assimilationist in its integration with a weakened attachment to its Mexican heritage, and a "cultural maintenance" family that has preserved its Mexican culture. The author argues that assimilation is occurring along a "bumpy-line," partially due to marriage patterns. Her generational analysis demonstrates racial discrimination across all three generations. The research reveals that gender, marriage and family, phenotype, religion, the civil rights movement, multicultural ideology, and social institutions have an impact on the processes of assimilation and ethnic identity formation. This meticulously researched, well-written book, rich in ethnographic analysis, makes a significant contribution to immigration, race/ethnicity, and policy studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and up. D. A. Chekki emeritus, University of Winnipeg