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The Squatter and the Don, originally published in San Francisco in 1885, is the first fictional narrative written and published in English from the perspective of the conquered Mexican population that, despite being granted the full rights of citizenship under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848, was, by 1860, a subordinated and marginalized national minority.

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Apr 1, 2007

Starts Slow, But Gets Much Better

This book is a wonder in-and-of-itself in that it is one of the earliest by a Hispanic-American woman. The story, as the title suggests, deals with the conflicting lives of a family of squatters and the family of a Don in California. As modernity creeps upon them and land right laws and new political pressures begin to take their toll, these two families both face major issues as they try to make homes for themselves that are both protected and well-earned. We see how the early laws of our nation tested the delicate boundaries between races, social classes, gender, etc., both pulling them further apart and forcing them closer together in a friction that leads to an inevitable eruption.
The book starts somewhat slowly to creep into action . . . but once the action gets started, there's no slowing back down! It's a must read for anyone interested in the history of the U.S., particularly through the 19th Century, as well as anyone interested in the place of the Hispanic culture in its development!

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