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By Jessica English, Leslie Davis, Nicholle Toth

DECEMBER 1, 1997: 

by Ignacio M. García (Univ. of Arizona Press, paper, $17.95)

Along with being an American of anything-but-European descent comes a profound sense of identity, developed usually within the movement for equality. Chicanismo is not merely an account of the Mexican American community but the study of how Mexican Americans developed the militant ethos behind el Movimiento. Ignacio M. García maps carefully the evolution of the collective political consciousness among Mexican Americans, examining the history of the movement in four phases to effectively show how this ideology known as chicanismo impacted each group within the multi-layered Chicano community. Chicanismo is far from a repeat of what's been written, because he shows that el Movimiento was much more than an emotional backlash at the establishment. The militant ethos not only forged the Chicano cultural and political identity; it was the foundation for an overall reinvention of La Raza that remains to this day the strength of their diverse community. (JE)

Angel Wings
by Nicole Conn (Simon & Schuster, cloth, $23)

When two angels are assigned to unite two soul mates, Clancy and Michael, they encounter numerous difficulties and distractions. One of the angels, Carlita, becomes preoccupied with Clancy's alternate destiny, much to the chagrin of Gabriella, her superior in the angelic order. In the meantime, Michael and Clancy proceed through 30 years of their lives impeding their mutual destiny with their self-doubt, hesitancy and insecurities. Although this is a story that many people could relate to, inasmuch as childhood issues, trauma, fear of failure, fear of rejection, love and loss are commonly part of the human experience, it is entirely too predictable. Ultimately the angelic intervention allows for the main characters to overcome their human failings and live happily ever after. While the story definitely incorporates very human characteristics and limitations, the premise is not particularly original. (LD)

Pretending the Bed is a Raft
by Nanci Kincaid (Algonquin Books, cloth, $17.95)

The actions/reactions of Kincaid's characters make up the circle of life portrayed within these pages. These eight short stories jogged memories of small towns and the many firsts that took place during my "formative years." Take, for instance "Just Because They've Got Papers Doesn't Mean They Aren't Still Dogs," in which the main character, among many other revelations, realizes that even within the "church," you can't always believe in the laymen as much as in your supposed doctrine. Kincaid presents many lump-in-the-throat situations with Southern hospitality humor. Readers will be able to draw images from their pasts, to put faces to the characters described. Pretending the Bed is a Raft isn't just the title of Nancy Kincaid's new book; for many people, it's a way of life. (NT)

Geronimo's Kids
by Robert S. Ove and H. Henrietta Stockel (Texas A&M Press, cloth, $24.95 )

From 1948-50, Rev. Robert S. Ove taught at Whitetail on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. There he was, a fledgling teacher, lecturing the direct descendants of Geronimo about the only American Indian history he knew--one that he learned, as most of us do, from biased and out-dated textbooks that recount only Indian wars. His version of the truth, as most people's, was clouded with Hollywood portrayals of Indians. In Geronimo's Kids, Ove disputes U.S. so-called "history" while also presenting a refreshingly well-written and moving testament to the student-teacher relationship. Co-written by former Albuquerque Indian Center executive director H. Henrietta Stockel, Geronimo's Kids is founded on solid research and rich experiences that make this a reputable social study of reservation life in the '50s. Most importantly, Geronimo's Kids is an accurate history of Geronimo's people from one who has learned first-hand to dispel the myths. The truth is out there. (JE)

--Jessica English, Leslie Davis and Nicolle Toth

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