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October 4, 2016
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September 19, 2018
9780295744278
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Bracero Railroaders

The Forgotten World War II Story of Mexican Workers in the U.S. West

Desperate for laborers to keep the trains moving during World War II, the U.S. and Mexican governments created a now mostly forgotten bracero railroad program that sent a hundred thousand Mexican workers across the border to build and maintain railroad lines throughout the United States, particularly the West. Although both governments promised the workers adequate living arrangements and fair working conditions, most bracero railroaders lived in squalor, worked dangerous jobs, and were subject to harsh racial discrimination.

Making matters worse, the governments held a percentage of the workers' earnings in a savings and retirement program that supposedly would await the men on their return to Mexico. However, rampant corruption within both the railroad companies and the Mexican banks meant that most workers were unable to collect what was rightfully theirs.

Historian Erasmo Gamboa recounts the difficult conditions, systemic racism, and decades-long quest for justice these men faced. The result is a pathbreaking examination that deepens our understanding of Mexican American, immigration, and labor histories in the twentieth-century U.S. West.

About the Author

Erasmo Gamboa is professor of American ethnic studies at the University of Washington. He is the author of Mexican Labor and World War II: Braceros in the Pacific Northwest, 1942–1947.

Endorsement

"Bracero Railroaders documents a hidden dimension of the World War II bracero program and details the experiences of the bracero railroad workers and the difficult conditions under which they worked. It documents an important part of World War II and Mexican immigration history."—Lynn Stephen, author of Transborder Lives: Indigenous Oaxacans in Mexico, California, and Oregon

"Gamboa captures the rigors and limited opportunities of the bracero railroad workers in the Pacific Northwest. Bracero Railroaders is an invigorating treatment of a displaced generation of Mexican men who cannot remain in the margins."—Ana Elizabeth Rosas, author of Abrazando el Espíritu: Bracero Families Confront the US-Mexico Border

9780295744278 : bracero-railroaders-gamboa
Paperback / softback
248 Pages
$30.00 USD
9780295998329 : bracero-railroaders-gamboa
Hardback
248 Pages
$50.00 USD

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