- Published: New York : Harper, 2009.
- Year Published: 2009
- Edition: 1st ed.
- Description: 507 p.
- Language: English
- Format: Book
- Americans -- Fiction. -- Mexico
- Identity (Psychology) -- Fiction.
- Subversive activities -- Fiction.
- Mexico -- Fiction. -- History -- 1910-1946
- North Carolina -- Fiction. -- History -- 20th century
- Biographical fiction.
- Historical fiction.
- Epistolary fiction.
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Call number: Fiction
"The story of Harrison William Shepherd, a man caught between two worlds -- Mexico and the United States in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s -- and whose search for identity takes readers to the heart of the twentieth century's most tumultuous events"--Provided by publisher.
Reviews & Summaries
Harrison William Shepherd was born in Mexico to a Mexican mother and raised there for many years until she decides to take a step up the social ladder through marriage and so first sends him to a school for children with cognitive disabilities (although Harrison does not have one), then to his father in the United States. There, Harrison witnesses how horribly World War I veterans are being treated and how bad the lives of so many poor people are in the beginning of the Great Depression.
Later, Harrison returns to Mexico where he begins working for artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, learning pride in his Mexican heritage. They introduce him to Leon Trotsky, from whom he learn about class and communism.
After Trotsky's assassination, Harrison returns to the United States and becomes a writer whose novels focus on Mexican history. Yet he comes to the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee who twist his words to portray him as an anti-American communist. Harrison begins burning his diaries in attempt to (we later learn) hide the fact that he is gay and hide his boyfriend's identity to protect him.
The novel particularly condemns our society's efforts to scapegoat and divide people. It makes one wish more people knew about the United States' role in the Cold War and how it hurt people in and outside the US.
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