The Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of The Los Angeles Times presents her new biography of Cesar Chavez, a follow-up to The Union of Their Dreams, her previous book about the United Farm Workers.
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 US history. Yet his life story has been told only in hagiography—until now.
In the first comprehensive biography of Chavez, Miriam Pawel 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.
Drawing on thousands of documents and scores of interviews, this superbly written life deepens our understanding of one of Chavez's most salient qualities: his profound humanity. Pawel 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MIRIAM PAWEL is the author of The Union of Their Dreams
, widely acclaimed as the most nuanced history of Cesar Chavez's movement. She is a Pulitzer-winning editor who spent twenty-five years working for Newsday
and the Los Angeles Times
. "She was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, and lives in Southern California.