By Jo Ann Hernandez
LatinaLista — It is said that unless the lessons of history are learned, a society is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past — and that is exactly what happens in the exciting tale America Libre by Raul Ramos y Sanchez.
The story follows Manolo Suarez, an ex-army soldier and family man, who is looking for work. At the same time, tension between Hispanics and Anglos is rapidly escalating in Hispanic communities across the nation.
Race relations between the two groups devolve into violence and fear whereby it’s decided that everyone who is Hispanic, married to a Hispanic or has at least one grandparent of Hispanic origin is classified as “Class H” and forced into “special camps” to isolate them.
Against this backdrop, Manolo is hired by the enticing Jo and is drawn into the budding radical activist group, La Defensa del Pueblo, that she leads. La Defensa del Pueblo is a movement that seeks to re-do the borders between the United States and Mexico.
Manolo believes and fights for his right to be a provider for his family and a man who can walk tall. Yet, the support he needs is tainted when his wife becomes jealous over his involvement with the rich and exciting Jo.
Something happens to Manolo’s wife and children that puts him in the crosshairs of a life-changing decision.
This futuristic, fast-paced tale will keep you absorbed until the last page. With the author’s keen insight of past and present politics, America Libre, serves as a literary warning to what happens when extremism, from either side, forces its way into the national dialogue of race relations and immigration policy.
America Libre is the winner of the 2008 International Latino Book Award for Best Novel.
Jo Ann HernÃ¡ndez is assistant Bookshelf editor and author of the award-winning “White Bread Competition” and “The Throwaway Piece,” as well as, creator and publisher of BronzeWord Latino Authors web site.