cover of book

World of Our Mothers: Mexican Revolution–Era Immigrants and Their Stories
by Miguel Montiel and Yvonne de la Torre Montiel
University of Arizona Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-8165-4667-1 | Cloth: 978-0-8165-4666-4 | Paper: 978-0-8165-4665-7
Library of Congress Classification HQ1438.A6M56 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.488086912073

World of Our Mothers captures the largely forgotten history of courage and heartbreak of forty-five women who immigrated to the United States during the era of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The book reveals how these women in the early twentieth century reconciled their lives with their circumstances—enduring the violence of the Revolution, experiencing forced labor and lost childhoods, encountering enganchadores (labor contractors), and living in barrios, mining towns, and industrial areas of the Midwest, and what they saw as their primary task: caring for their families.

While the women share a historic immigration journey, each story provides unique details and circumstances that testify to the diversity of the immigrant experience. The oral histories, a project more than forty years in the making, let these women speak for themselves, while historical information is added to support and illuminate the women’s voices.

The book, which includes a foreword by Irasema Coronado, director of the School of Transborder Studies, and Chris Marin, professor emeritus, both at Arizona State University, is divided into four parts. Part 1 highlights the salient events of the Revolution; part 2 presents an overview of what immigrants inherited upon their arrival to the United States; part 3 identifies challenges faced by immigrant families; and part 4 focuses on stories by location—Arizona mining towns, Phoenix barrios, and Midwestern colonias—all communities that immigrant women helped create. The book concludes with ideas on how readers can examine their own family histories. Readers are invited to engage with one another to uncover alternative interpretations of the immigrant experience and through the process connect one generation with another.
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