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Publisher's Summary

In a series of 10 essays, spanning five centuries of history, beginning with the conquest of Mexico by Hermán Cortés and ending in 1992 San Francisco, Rodriguez explores the conflicts of race, religion, and cultural identity for Mexican-Americans across the landscape of his beloved California.

The book's "argument" poses Mexico and the United States as moral rivals. Mexico wears the mask of tragedy, the United States wears the mask of comedy. By the end of the book, the reader recognizes an historical irony: the United States is becoming a culture of tragedy; Mexico, meanwhile, revels in youthful optimism. Mexico and the United States have changed roles.

©1992 Richard Rodriguez (P)1994 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Luminous....[Rodriguez's] insights, irony, and descriptions make the writing richly evocative." (Publishers Weekly)
"Days of Obligation looks into America, north and south of the Rio Grande, as penetratingly and eloquently as Camus did when he compared the mental landscapes of France and Algiers." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"The best American essayist as far as I'm concerned....[Rodriguez] doesn't kowtow to political correctness. He shuns the pack, rides alone. He writes a lonely line of individualism, the grandeur and grief of the American soul." (Village Voice)

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Another profound look into the Latino mind

I don't use that term with the precision that the author so ably does. I've lived,worked among the poor, i.e., the ordinary people of Latin America for nearly 20 years. I'm not, nor was I ever a missionary. I simply used finds from NON medically related business investment, to enable me to work as a doctor among the very poor, LONG TERM. I have lived AMONG the people. I expect to be buried here among several villages I supported medically for years. From my arrival, I have struggled to understand the workings of the culture. I believe firmly that there are few coincidences in the World. I've read countles studies, academic, historical, memoirs of Latinos. They all relate similar facts, the beautiful, the not so beautiful, as well as the everyday tragedy, of ordinary people's lives. And none, including myself, offer any realistic path to lessening the pain caused by the dilemmas that exist here This author more than any other opens the window of cultural understanding in a manner that others have not, INTO their VERY souls. No, i have no simplistic monocultural summary. Instead the author skillfully, precisely interprets his understanding of his parent's culture from which he was transplanted into an Irish Catholic milieu in Sacramento. I don't Think it would have been SO strikingly prescient had I not lived among some of these people, as I continue to do. The author , tellingly, offers no North American imposition of solutions. This has added immensely to my understanding of these people. Narration enhances presentaion.