George Washington Gomez
by Americo Paredes
Published: June 30, 1990
Bind: Trade Paperback
In the 1930s, Américo Paredes, the renowned folklorist, wrote a novel set to the background of the struggles of Texas Mexicans to preserve their property, culture and identity in the face of Anglo-American migration to and growing dominance over the Rio Grande Valley. Episodes of guerilla warfare, land grabs, racism, jingoism, and abuses by the Texas Rangers make this an adventure novel as well as one of reflection on the making of modern day Texas. George Washington Gómez is a true precursor of the modern Chicano novel.
“An absorbing, heart-rending story told with sensitivity and wisdom . . . this book deserves a wide readership not only for its artistry but also for its subject matter.”—Beaumont Enterprise
“Paredes evokes boyhood with more sympathy than anyone since Dickens . . . an excellent book.”—Austin American Statesman
“Narrated in the traditional realism of the book’s era, this pioneering text is a photograph of the past, a look at the state of things and actions in the border states of the American Union. With a simplicity that avoids melodrama, Américo Paredes draws for us a dusty Texas where the horses are replaced by Ford T’s, the ranchers for the oilmen, and the old, Western-style shoot-outs for order and certain laws. Paredes could see the necessity and importance in the act of building a personality, a pride…whether we are George Washington Gómez or Obama Pérez, the identity is what counts, the name is the least of it.”—Hola Cultura: DC’s Cultural Hub
AMÉRICO PAREDES (1915-1999), the famed Chicano folklorist who died at the age of 84, is widely considered to have been at the forefront of the movement that saw the birth of Chicana/o literary and cultural studies as an academic discipline in the 1970s and 1980s. He was professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin.
He is the author of numerous ground-breaking works, including With a Pistol in His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero (University of Texas Press, 1970), the novel George Washington Gómez (Arte Público Press, 1990), and two collections of poetry, Cantos de adolescencia / Songs of Youth (Arte Público Press, 2007) and Between Two Worlds (Arte Público Press, 1990).