Books

Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
NEW!

El Norte

The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America

by Carrie Gibson

A sweeping saga of the Spanish history and influence in North America over five centuries, from the acclaimed author of Empire’s Crossroads

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 576
  • Publication Date February 05, 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2702-0
  • Dimensions 6.125" x 9.25"
  • US List Price $30.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date February 05, 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4635-9
  • US List Price $30.00

About the Book

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.

Praise for El Norte

“What does it mean to be Hispanic? Is one Hispanic if one does not speak Spanish or Portuguese, or does ethnicity extend beyond the borders of language? . . . Gibson soundly concludes that the history of the Spanish ‘is central to how the United States has developed and will continue to develop,’ lending further utility to her work. Though much of this history is well-documented in the scholarly literature, it’s undeniably useful to have it in a single survey volume for general readers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“In this enlightening and exhaustively researched work, Carrie Gibson has accomplished the monumental task of recovering an extraordinary and consequential Hispanic past traditionally written out of American history. Her narrative is far reaching, vividly detailed, and a gift to assessing the American experience and evolving identity.”—Jack E. Davis, author of The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History

“Carrie Gibson has written an epic history which will significantly change the way we look at American history, from the Georgia in which she grew up to the California coast. She chronicles the way in which Hispanic people—Spanish, Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican—shaped places like the American South and Southwest in a way not captured by our standard narrative, which inaccurately relies overly on British colonization and America’s westward expansion. In so doing, she challenges and dispels the stereotypes of the ‘Black Legend,’ which has cast Hispanics as villains in the American story, either cruel or incompetent or both. Along the way, she takes the readers on Spanish travels to the Chesapeake and Canada as well as settlements that stand to this day, from New Madrid, Missouri to Mesilla, New Mexico and Tampa. Her research is meticulous in detail and her writing propels the reader through 500 years to transport them to today.”—Richard Parker, author of Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America

“A sweeping story of our Hispanic roots that links the dreamers of the Conquest with the Dreamers of the present, ranging across a continent’s history from first contacts in Florida to intersecting empires on Vancouver Island. In connecting places across the United States with their Hispanic pasts, Carrie Gibson connects our America with what one Cuban called Nuestra América, blurring borders at a time when others are building them up.”—Paul Gillingham, author of Cuauhtémoc’s Bones

Praise for Empire’s Crossroads

“Gibson knows how to hold a reader’s interest with gems of fact and sometimes poetic prose.”—New York Times Book Review

“Ambitious . . . With rare narrative verve and a gift for synthesis, Gibson compresses the islands’ histories into a wide-ranging, vivid narrative.”—Observer (UK), “Best History Books of 2014”

“A rich and thorough history of the Caribbean from colonialism to the present day . . . Carrie Gibson’s thoughtful and extensively researched Empire’s Crossroads is a revelation. It is both a readable and in-depth study . . . A valuable work that is required reading for scholars and students . . . Impassioned and anecdotally rich.”—Christian Science Monitor

“There can never be too many books about the Caribbean, a region whose diversity and cultural richness is unparalleled, and Carrie Gibson’s new offering is a welcome addition to the canon.”—BBC History (UK)

“[An] epic history of the Caribbean . . . Vivid and thought-provoking.”—Spectator (UK)

“Gibson’s social history focuses heavily on the destructive legacy of slavery, the bitter divisiveness of racism, and the brutality and inequalities of the opulent sugar plantations that dominated Caribbean economies for 300 years . . . Gibson tells [the story] in fluid, colorful prose peppered with telling anecdotes.”—Foreign Affairs

“A marvelously rich and inclusive panorama of five centuries of Caribbean history . . . A work that brings fresh energy, assurance and insight to an area that is not often the focus of historians. Gibson’s study is sure to gratify academics, history buffs, and anyone intrigued by the Caribbean’s colorful, volatile, and multifaceted societies.”—Library Journal