The Hispanic states of America

Ea4103c0-caec-11e3-_750448hHenry Kamen at the Times Literary Supplement:

Our America is a brilliant, difficult book which seeks “to show that there are other US histories than the standard Anglo narrative” by focusing on “Hispanic influence in the country’s past and future”. A United States is revealed that has its origins not in the Pilgrim Fathers or Plymouth Rock, but over a century before that, with Ponce de León and the Fountain of Youth. Felipe Fernández-Armesto’s survey covers “the whole country from 1505 to the present”, an awesome timespan that would daunt most mortals but which the author handles with his customary fluency, humour and unremitting scholarship.

Who are the Hispanics? They have moved centre stage in recent decades because of their impressive and widely feared political clout. Not only are they the fastest-growing minority in the United States, numbering over 50 million overall, representing two-thirds of the population of Miami, nearly half of Los Angeles, and over one-fifth of New York and Chicago: they also fill important positions in government and state administration throughout the country. No political party dare approach the voters without making concessions to Hispanic priorities and taking account of Spanish – the second language of the US – in their publicity.

more here.