What We Are Reading Today: El Norte

Updated 10 March 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: El Norte

Author: Carrie Gibson

This is a comprehensive exploration of the “Spanish” experience in North America, from the days of Columbus to US President Donald Trump. 
El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America “is the book that Americans, Anglo and Hispanic, should read as an education on their own American place or role,” said Julio Ortega in a review published in The New York Times.
The author of Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean From Columbus to the Present Day, Carrie Gibson “takes on the task of accounting for the relevant and telling cases of our modern process of national formation and regional negotiations,” said Ortega.
“This is a serious book of history but also an engaging project of reading the future in the past,” the review added.
“What is particularly fascinating about this book is that its encyclopedic project is not a rewriting of history but a recitation of readings. Almost each historical event is retold through memory, recording, evaluation and discussion,” Ortega said.


What We Are Reading Today: Red Meat Republic by Joshua Specht

Updated 23 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Red Meat Republic by Joshua Specht

  • Joshua Specht puts people at the heart of his story — the big cattle ranchers who helped to drive the nation’s westward expansion

By the late 19th century, Americans rich and poor had come to expect high-quality fresh beef with almost every meal. 

Beef production in the US had gone from small-scale, localized operations to a highly centralized industry spanning the country, with cattle bred on ranches in the rural West, slaughtered in Chicago, and consumed in the nation’s rapidly growing cities. 

Red Meat Republic tells the remarkable story of the violent conflict over who would reap the benefits of this new industry and who would bear its heavy costs, says a review on the University Press website.

Joshua Specht puts people at the heart of his story — the big cattle ranchers who helped to drive the nation’s westward expansion, the meatpackers who created a radically new kind of industrialized slaughterhouse, and the stockyard workers who were subjected to the shocking and unsanitary conditions described by Upton Sinclair in his novel The Jungle. 

Specht brings to life a turbulent era marked by Indian wars, Chicago labor unrest, and food riots in the streets of New York.