Book Review: Barrio America by Andrew Sandoval-Strausz

On November 18, former Princeton Mellon Fellow Andrew Sandoval-Strausz visited Princeton to lead a discussion on his new book -- Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City. We thank Sandoval-Strausz for his thought-provoking presentation, as well as discussant Brian Herrera, Associate Professor of Theater, the Program in Latino Studies and the Lewis Center for the Arts. 

On November 21, published a review of Barrio America by Elena Botella:

Barrio America is the compelling history of how Latino immigrants revitalized the nation’s cities after decades of disinvestment and white flight. Thirty years ago, most people were ready to give up on American cities. We are commonly told that it was a “creative class” of young professionals who revived a moribund urban America in the 1990s and 2000s. But this stunning reversal owes much more to another, far less visible group: Latino and Latina newcomers.

Andrew Sandoval-Strausz reveals this history by focusing on two barrios: Chicago’s Little Village and Dallas’s Oak Cliff. These neighborhoods lost residents and jobs for decades before Latin American immigration turned them around beginning in the 1970s. As Sandoval-Strausz shows, Latinos made cities dynamic, stable, and safe by purchasing homes, opening businesses, and reviving street life. Barrio America uses vivid oral histories and detailed statistics to show how the great Latino migrations transformed America for the better.

Director of the Latinx studies program at Penn State University, and former Princeton Mellon Fellow, A. K. Sandoval-Strausz specializes in urban, legal, architectural, and Latino history. His first book, Hotel: An American History (2007), explored the origins and development of one of the most common building types on the national landscape. It won the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association's book prize and was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal.