Being there . . . . with marvelously inspiring author-editor Esther Bonilla Read as she interviews 75 young Mexican Americans about their stories of fighting fiercely in Europe and the Pacific.
DESPITE BIAS, SEGREGATION, AND MISTREATMENT, HALF A MILLION MEXICAN AMERICANS WENT TO WAR FOR THEIR COUNTRY.
On December 7, 1913, President Theodore Roosevelt said, “A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled to, and less than that no man shall have . . . . “
Part Five of a 10- Part Series
Celebrating America’s Best Military
Publishers and Distributors
Reviewed and Highly Recommended. By Don DeNevi
“After the Blessing – – Mexican American Veterans of WW II Tell Their Own Stories”,
edited by Ether Bonilla Read. TCU Press, The Texas Book Consortium, Texas A&M
University Press: 313 pages. sc; $26.95
When the children of stout traditional Catholics leave home, the parents arrange with their church priests to “Bless them”. For sons sent off to war, the Blessing is of utmost importance.
Using that religious custom phrase as the apropos title of her anthology, Esther Bonilla Read offers readers an extraordinarily rare opportunity to read about the experiences of young Mexican Americans, today, the final surviving veterans. Questions the 75 men were asked include: What were you doing when you volunteered, or were drafted? What branch did you serve in, and what was your rank? Your service experiences? Where were you when you learned the war was over? After the war?
Upon answering such questions, the vets asked their own, or elaborated on what it was like being a Mexican American at war in foreign countries. Their stories ranged from fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, to gut-wrenching testimony about cannibalism by the Japanese, and the horrors of the Bataan Death March.
Esther Bonilla Read, a highly respected author who teaches writing at the college level in her spare time, has calmly and professionally accumulated a treasure trove of Mexica-American deeds and experiences by brave, courageous uneducated teenage men. Most had dropped out of high school to enlist. They, too, were the sinews of victory in Europe and the Pacific.
“After the Blessing – – Mexican American Veterans of WW II Tell Their Own Stories” isn’t the only impassioned book published by the TCU Press or eight other presses of the Texas Book Consortium under the umbrella of the Texas Book Consortium. If any of the following titles intrigue, or even mildly interest, call, 800 826-8911, or see www.tamupress.com.
“The Berlin Airlift and the Making of the Cold War”, “Black Dragon”, Physician Soldier”, “Victory Over Guadalcanal”, Mother of the Company”, Tattooed on My Soul”, “Flight Surgeon”, “Always Faithful”, “A Military History of Texas”, “I Fought a Good Fight – – A History of the Lupan Apaches”, and more than 70 other World War II subjects published in 2021.
The nine presses of the Texas A&M University Press & Texas Book Consortium are the Texas State Historical Association Press, TCU Press, University of North Texas Press, State House Press, Texas Review Press, Stephen F. Austin State University Press, Winedale Publishing, Shearer Publishing, and Stoney Creek Publishing Group. At www.tamupress.com. You can peruse the Consortium’s Spring & Summer 2022 catalog for individual book summaries, costs, and mail information.
The reader should also know this reviewer’s error, nay, obstinate insistence, that there are only five significant military publishing companies in America. There are really six, thanks to the Texas Book Consortium.