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El Norte

The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America
Written by: Carrie Gibson
Narrated by: Thom Rivera
Length: 21 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: History, Americas

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Publisher's Summary

Because of our shared English language, as well as the celebrated origin tales of the Mayflower and the rebellion of the British colonies, the United States has prized its Anglo heritage above all others. However, as Carrie Gibson explains with great depth and clarity in El Norte, the nation has much older Spanish roots - ones that have long been unacknowledged or marginalized. The Hispanic past of the United States predates the arrival of the Pilgrims by a century, and has been every bit as important in shaping the nation as it exists today. 

El Norte chronicles the sweeping and dramatic history of Hispanic North America from the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century to the present - from Ponce de Leon’s initial landing in Florida in 1513 to Spanish control of the vast Louisiana territory in 1762 to the Mexican-American War in 1846 and up to the more recent tragedy of post-hurricane Puerto Rico and the ongoing border acrimony with Mexico. Interwoven in this stirring narrative of events and people are cultural issues that have been there from the start but which are unresolved to this day: language, belonging, community, race, and nationality. Seeing them play out over centuries provides vital perspective at a time when it is urgently needed. 

In 1883, Walt Whitman meditated on his country’s Spanish past: “We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them”, predicting that “to that composite American identity of the future, Spanish character will supply some of the most needed parts.” That future is here, and El Norte, a stirring and eventful history in its own right, will make a powerful impact on our national understanding.

©2019 Carrie Gibson (P)2019 Audible, Inc.
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • dragoness' utterances
  • 06-05-19

Encyclopedic to say the least

Cannot imagine an incident that was not included. Particularly interesting was the clarification of how Puerto Rico becomes the failed state. Mexico is a long history marvelously woven in. I appreciate that the author clearly defines his position although far left of mine the honesty is welcome

12 people found this helpful

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  • Roy
  • 12-08-19

A Holistic Perspective

The academic approach Gibson has taken in El Norte is broad. It is no secret that most US history is Anglocentric. Gibson's research and perspective help to diffuse that past centrism. I liked it!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul Hernandez
  • 13-05-19

El norte.

Breath taking and casting an awareness of a history of Spanish colonialism in the americas. I recommend this book to anyone especially in states that border the southwest. It's historical contributions can help further help in understanding what it mea s to be Hispanic. Excellent read for anyone who loves history both modern and past.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Malcolm Brian Peters
  • 25-12-19

Don't miss/overlook this book!

I can't say enough good things about this book. Capta mucha emocion por mi. We are one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • lionel velez
  • 16-02-20

Exceptionally well written and well narrated!!!

I have glanced at some of the reviews and I will concur with the majority of the opinions expressed here. Regardless of whether the readers view that pendulum might swings too far to the left or too far to the right, the book takes the reader to a true historical journey by changing topics and location in a seamless matter where the reader can connect without losing perspective nor insight. of the subject under discussion. I am Puertorican born and educated in both Puerto Rico and in the US. I am also an avid reader on the subjects discussed were I have read from different writers with an array of points of view and opinions who highlight the historical, political, social and racial issues that have had impacted Hispanic Americans throughout the centuries under the Spanish Rule, National Rules after independence from Spain and US Rules. I have read "José's" comments with whom I can't understand his anger, lack of understanding and even a real lack of knowledge and denial of what a well-informed person and researcher would agree to be a very well researched and written book. I enjoyed the book's narrator's voice and the pace of his lecture.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Maria Herrera
  • 29-08-19

A thoughtful contribution to the literature

I have always been struck by the Michael Myers-like persistence of the Black Legend. Had I not had a father who was well read and told me to ignore that rubbish I might have built so many assumptions on that narrative interpretation so this book was a welcome refutation and upadte. Much more than that though it is a careful nuanced exploration of history through historical documents, personal anecdotes and studies by governmental and private sources that paints an informative picture of the “always there” story of Spanish speakers (as opposed to incidental to a selected few chapters) in the history of the US. Happily this book avoids painting generalizations like that of the wealthy hacendado and the downtrodden peasant and instead places such historical agents in a context that allows the reader to better appreciate their circumstances and political and cultural reactions to events as they unfolded around them. This book also explores the confection of whiteness and how this is invariably used to create political cleavages to the advantage of the US while eclipsing the cleavages in Hispanic America which relied more on a self devised and certainly more fluid lines of identification. You get the impression as you read that the old saying that the victor gets to write history is indeed true. Thankfully if truth is the sun than luckily we can not eclipse it with a finger. I will be presenting this book in my bookclub in the Netherlands.

6 people found this helpful

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  • David R Munoz
  • 17-10-19

Exceptional treatise it gives an excellent tapestr

This history provides an excellent juxtaposition of the distinct cultures comprising the Hispanic nation and what lies in store for them as they become the predominant minority.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-08-19

great book but I don't understand the Spanish

I think it's wonderful and respectful to Latino Hispanic culture that the narrator pronounces all the Spanish properly but I can't understand any of it. Very annoying. Could it be done in some bilingual way or something?

2 people found this helpful

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  • pablo romero
  • 17-06-19

My take.

Quite awesome!
This a huge effort by the writer.
I just wish the reader was more adept at pronouncing spanish words with silent H vs non-silent. His rs also need help when single vs hard or double or at the start of the words.
Still worth the effort!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ronnie J. Swartz
  • 18-08-19

Title was off.

As a Native New Mexican, I thought this book was going to be about Mexico's Northern Territories which was a vast amount stolen by the USA from Mexico.

4 people found this helpful