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Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

Reviewed by Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra



Our America is about turning perspectives upside down. It is about reading self-satisfying narratives of the past irreverently, mockingly, unsparingly. It is about elucidating the political work that History, with a capital H, does. History creates myths that move and inspire, but it also creates myths that silence. Our America is a book about myths: the fountain of youth, the cities of Cibola, the pursuit of King Arthur, the realm of Queen Calafia, the curse of Zorro, the revenge of Moroni, the republic of Hesperus. Our America narrates the history of the United States from the perspective of the South, rather than the East.

The book is divided into three periods. The first period uses the myths of the fountain of youth, the cities of Cibola, the knights of King Arthur, and the realm of queen Calafia to demonstrate that Hispanics shaped every colonial event described in college textbooks, from the Puritan plantations to the American Revolution. This section is the most satisfying, insofar as it manages to thor­oughly Iberianize the early modern Atlantic.

The second period makes for tearful, tragic reading: losses, lynchings, brutality, and racial slurs aimed

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