So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico: Middle Eastern Immigrants in Modern Mexico Paperback – Jul 1 2007
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About the Author
THERESA ALFARO-VELCAMP is Assistant Professor of History at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California. She has published numerous scholarly articles on Middle Eastern immigrants who settled in Latin America.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Often the history of Mexico that we study and learn is political and economical and linear. Linear in the sense that we usually begin with the War of Independence then passing through the Mexican-United States war, La Reforma, the Reconstruction, the Porfiriato, the Mexican Revolution and so on. But rarely is any space or time given to the history of immigration to Mexico especially from the Middle East.
So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico is the book that will help cover that gap of history that is usually not taught to us in the general course. However, as the subtitle of the book "Middle Eastern Immigrants In Modern Mexico" reflects, Dr. Alfaro-Velcamp only focuses on the recent immigration from the Middle East to Mexico. Basing herself on over 8,000 original immigration cards and plenty of other data, she begins to trace the history all the way back to the beginning of the Porfiriato and ending up to the contemporary era.
As a historian myself I strongly recommend this book to any person interesting in expanding their knowledge of Mexican history. This is a book that will help you further appreciate Mexican history and understand how Middle Easterners were also part of the social construction of "Mexicanidad" and how their struggles and ambitions were no different than those of any other Mexican. However, Professor Alfaro-Velcamp's book will also teach us that Middle Easterners were faced with certain political and judicial obstacles that made it hard for some of them (especially working-class) to merge and fit into the Mexican melting pot. Nonetheless this is a book that contributes to the expanding and new research of Mexican history.
So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico will help you appreciate Mexican history and the history of Middle Eastern immigration to Mexico. The book's structure will further help the reader understand certain aspects of this history since it focuses on certain aspects and issues necessary to further understanding. On a last note the author includes a bibliography that will help the reader with further reading. This is a very well researched book.
I was fortunate enough to Dr Alfaro- Velcamp on a flight. I remember how passionate the author was about teaching as well as learning about different cultures.
Can't wait to start reading this book!!