America Libre is an action packed political thriller sandwiched between book covers! Cuban-born author Raul Ramos Y Sanchez has achieved an explosive combination of the intense, aggressive excitement of an action movie and the complex, thought provoking analysis of a political drama in this realistic story of revolution and racial repression.
Manolo Suarez is a third generation Hispanic American who wants only to support his family and be a good father and husband. In a time of severe recession and race wars Manolo's search for employment becomes a life altering experience as he realizes there are ideologies worth battling for far beyond the micro-chasm of his life as an individual. As the United States fights a war against terror abroad the government begins to ignore the problems and issues the country faces at home. Racial hatred in a time of recession and anti-immigrant sentiments create a situation of serious repression amongst Hispanic Americans, a population growing leaps and bounds over the rest of those in America.
"With unemployment benefits running out, millions of Americans sought any kind of job, saturating low-rung job markets. From farms to fast-food chains, Hispanics were pitted against mainstream workers in a game of economic musical chairs" (Sanchez 2009:7)
Fear incites hatred and repression inevitably leads to revolution. Sanchez's fictional activist, Marcha writes in his manifesto:
"Repression is a revolutionary's best recruiter. It will create more converts than a thousand rousing speeches."(Sanchez 2009:133)
Manolo is not completely convinced by the revolutionary ideas of Marcha and his followers who offer Manolo the employment he is desperate for until the horrific effects of a brewing revolutionary war tragically touches his family and he realizes that to support the cause of the Hispanic people is to support and protect his family though it can lead to hard choices and personal sacrifice.
This novel is about a man who always treads on the side of honour despite temptations and nagging questions; about the heinous and misguided atrocities that create and sustain wars; and the oxymoron of the righteous yet lascivious nature of revolution and civil war. I felt at times I was reading the screenplay for a Action movie and at others a political non-fiction account of current U.S. history. The political climate Sanchez develops in this novel feels tangible and real, the drama and suspense exciting! I predict this will be a novel for the classroom...if it is not censored by the powers that be at any given political moment! Sanchez's character Marcha raises an interesting incite:
"Marcha also marveled at the diversity and vastness of the United States. In spite of its melange of people and unwieldy size, the U.S. had managed to create a nation that spanned a continent. This observation sparked a question in Marcha's mind: Could Latin America ever transform itself from a collection of separate states into a single nation? In time, he came to believe that the unification of Latin America was not only possible, it was the region's inevitable destiny" (Sanchez 2009:25)
Using Israel as a precedent could a Hispanic state within America be created? So many political questions are raised but perhaps paramount in this novel is the idea that anyone can rise up and become a patriot to a revolution even those without knowledge or interest in politics....all it takes is passion, duty, and devotion!
Five Northern Mama readers will have the opportunity to receive this provocative new novel, America Libre by Raul Ramos Y Sanchez set for release July 29th!! Thank you Miriam at Hachette for your generosity!
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Giveaway open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes August 3rd, 2009. See General Giveaway Rules for details.