Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Pawel (former reporter, Newsday) has written a well-integrated and illuminating history of Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers Union (UFCW) and the related struggle for civil rights. She tells the bottom-up history of the UFCW through the eyes of eight activists whom she interviewed-including a Protestant minister, ordinary farmworkers, and radical lawyers-who devoted years of their lives to Cesar Chavez and his vision. The author thus captures the heady days of early organizing, starting in 1965; Chavez's failure to create a self-sustaining union from the movement that he regarded as his alone; and the ultimate departure of many activists when they became disillusioned with Chavez's leadership. VERDICT This work recognizes Chavez's organizing talents, his personal charisma, and his all-too-human belief that he was the union. Thus, it is a valuable addition to the story of Chavez and the UFCW. Recommended primarily to students of labor and Chicano history, although general readers interested in the changes wrought during the 1960s may well like it, too.-Duncan Stewart, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Adult/High School-Pawel has no problem with the idolization of Chavez as a community/worker organizer. What he accomplished, and how he accomplished it, was truly phenomenal. However, his genius for leading a movement did not extend to managing a union. The charismatic, driven, and exceptionally devoted Chavez was better at getting things going than keeping them on track. The author examines the inspirational rise, wobbly tenure, and ultimate decline and fall of the United Farm Workers movement. She focuses not so much on the leader, but on eight others who were essential to whatever success the movement enjoyed. And the UFW may have seen far greater and sustained success if these voices had not been ignored and/or silenced. Pawel combines document research with recent interviews with several former directors, legal staff, and rank and file, allowing her to present a thorough and convincing treatment of an important chapter in American history. Source notes, a brief bibliography, and a smattering of black-and-white photos help; the lack of an index detracts.-Robert Saunderson, formerly at Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.