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The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography by…

The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography

by Miriam Pawel

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A well-rounded, thoroughly researched biography that is sympathetic to the subject but honest in revealing the many flaws of the revered labor leader. Chavez was a man as capable of hubris and pettiness as he was of brilliance and greatness. In other words, he was as human as the rest of us. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
A California man
The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography

By Kel Munger
Sacramento News & Review
This article was published on 03.27.14.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Miriam Pawel's second volume about Cesar Chavez, after 2009's The Union of Their Dreams, focuses on Chavez the person, with the same sort of clear writing. In The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography (Bloomsbury Press, $35), Pawel contrasts his commitment to nonviolence with his tolerance of his cousin's occasionally violent actions, and his consensus-building approach with his brief '70s flirtation with the Synanon model. Well, he was a Californian. What emerges is a figure who accomplished far more than he set out to do, while managing to inspire far more people than he ever met. ( )
  KelMunger | May 8, 2014 |
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The author draws on thousands of documents and interviews to examine the myths and achievements marking the life of the iconic Latino labor leader and civil rights activist, portraying him as a flawed but brilliant strategist who was often at odds with himself. Cesar Chavez founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation. He rose from migrant worker to national icon, becoming one of the great charismatic leaders of the 20th century. Two decades after his death, Chavez remains the most significant Latino leader in U.S. history. Yet his life story has been told only in hagiography, until now. In this biography of Chavez, the author offers a searching yet empathetic portrayal. Chavez emerges here as a visionary figure with tragic flaws; a brilliant strategist who sometimes stumbled; and a canny, streetwise organizer whose pragmatism was often at odds with his elusive, soaring dreams. He was an experimental thinker with eclectic passions, an avid, self-educated historian and a disciple of Gandhian non-violent protest. This biography deepens our understanding of one of Chavez's most salient qualities: his profound humanity. The author traces Chavez's remarkable career as he conceived strategies that empowered the poor and vanquished California's powerful agriculture industry, and his later shift from inspirational leadership to a cult of personality, with tragic consequences for the union he had built. This book reveals how this most unlikely American hero ignited one of the great social movements of our time.--From publisher's website.… (more)

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