• El Norte

  • The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America
  • By: Carrie Gibson
  • Narrated by: Thom Rivera
  • Length: 21 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (174 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Because of our shared English language, as well as the celebrated origin tales of the Mayflower and the rebellion of the British colonies, the United States has prized its Anglo heritage above all others. However, as Carrie Gibson explains with great depth and clarity in El Norte, the nation has much older Spanish roots - ones that have long been unacknowledged or marginalized. The Hispanic past of the United States predates the arrival of the Pilgrims by a century, and has been every bit as important in shaping the nation as it exists today. 

El Norte chronicles the sweeping and dramatic history of Hispanic North America from the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century to the present - from Ponce de Leon’s initial landing in Florida in 1513 to Spanish control of the vast Louisiana territory in 1762 to the Mexican-American War in 1846 and up to the more recent tragedy of post-hurricane Puerto Rico and the ongoing border acrimony with Mexico. Interwoven in this stirring narrative of events and people are cultural issues that have been there from the start but which are unresolved to this day: language, belonging, community, race, and nationality. Seeing them play out over centuries provides vital perspective at a time when it is urgently needed. 

In 1883, Walt Whitman meditated on his country’s Spanish past: “We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them”, predicting that “to that composite American identity of the future, Spanish character will supply some of the most needed parts.” That future is here, and El Norte, a stirring and eventful history in its own right, will make a powerful impact on our national understanding.

©2019 Carrie Gibson (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about El Norte

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Exceptionally well written and well narrated!!!

I have glanced at some of the reviews and I will concur with the majority of the opinions expressed here. Regardless of whether the readers view that pendulum might swings too far to the left or too far to the right, the book takes the reader to a true historical journey by changing topics and location in a seamless matter where the reader can connect without losing perspective nor insight. of the subject under discussion. I am Puertorican born and educated in both Puerto Rico and in the US. I am also an avid reader on the subjects discussed were I have read from different writers with an array of points of view and opinions who highlight the historical, political, social and racial issues that have had impacted Hispanic Americans throughout the centuries under the Spanish Rule, National Rules after independence from Spain and US Rules. I have read "José's" comments with whom I can't understand his anger, lack of understanding and even a real lack of knowledge and denial of what a well-informed person and researcher would agree to be a very well researched and written book. I enjoyed the book's narrator's voice and the pace of his lecture.

8 people found this helpful

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A Holistic Perspective

The academic approach Gibson has taken in El Norte is broad. It is no secret that most US history is Anglocentric. Gibson's research and perspective help to diffuse that past centrism. I liked it!

8 people found this helpful

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Encyclopedic to say the least

Cannot imagine an incident that was not included. Particularly interesting was the clarification of how Puerto Rico becomes the failed state. Mexico is a long history marvelously woven in. I appreciate that the author clearly defines his position although far left of mine the honesty is welcome

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

El norte.

Breath taking and casting an awareness of a history of Spanish colonialism in the americas. I recommend this book to anyone especially in states that border the southwest. It's historical contributions can help further help in understanding what it mea s to be Hispanic. Excellent read for anyone who loves history both modern and past.

16 people found this helpful

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Don't miss/overlook this book!

I can't say enough good things about this book. Capta mucha emocion por mi. We are one.

4 people found this helpful

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Exceptional treatise it gives an excellent tapestr

This history provides an excellent juxtaposition of the distinct cultures comprising the Hispanic nation and what lies in store for them as they become the predominant minority.

2 people found this helpful

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A thoughtful contribution to the literature

I have always been struck by the Michael Myers-like persistence of the Black Legend. Had I not had a father who was well read and told me to ignore that rubbish I might have built so many assumptions on that narrative interpretation so this book was a welcome refutation and upadte. Much more than that though it is a careful nuanced exploration of history through historical documents, personal anecdotes and studies by governmental and private sources that paints an informative picture of the “always there” story of Spanish speakers (as opposed to incidental to a selected few chapters) in the history of the US. Happily this book avoids painting generalizations like that of the wealthy hacendado and the downtrodden peasant and instead places such historical agents in a context that allows the reader to better appreciate their circumstances and political and cultural reactions to events as they unfolded around them. This book also explores the confection of whiteness and how this is invariably used to create political cleavages to the advantage of the US while eclipsing the cleavages in Hispanic America which relied more on a self devised and certainly more fluid lines of identification. You get the impression as you read that the old saying that the victor gets to write history is indeed true. Thankfully if truth is the sun than luckily we can not eclipse it with a finger. I will be presenting this book in my bookclub in the Netherlands.

8 people found this helpful

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A must for any Hispanic

I loved the chronological order of the chapters. It was great how Gibson managed to talked about the different Hispanics in different states and era in the United States.

1 person found this helpful

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This is Garbage!

This is a book written by a white person trying to imagine what another group thinks by watching MSNBC all day.

Literally everything she says is a crazy, oddly obsessive. does not have basis in general facts and is basically a whiny ideological harangue about people she hates (white people) and her obsession (Hispanic people). To Gibson, Hispanic people are like mascots, victims and innocent pawns for ideological interpretations of her world. Not heroic protagonists that shape their own lives. Sad for Carrie Gibson, we are way to cool to be victims. We are having too much fun in Life and that's why we thrive. We don't live in Carrie Gibson's world or have low self esteem, we live in our world and look forward to the future.

I am Hispanic and have had no troubles in 40 years living in America, due to being Hispanic.. I speak Spanish and have always done so. No teacher or authority has ever told me not to. People even ask if my kids are bilingual. I live where I want and I watch programming in a myriad of languages. I even have a job that was partially offered because I can speak multiple languages. I'm actually very brown, not a European Spanish looking guy, don't have blue eyes, or red hair. I look like the figure on the old Washington football helmet.

I did not grow up in NYC or LA. I grew up in the American South and have lived everywhere else professionally. This book is mythical and Spooky. If America were so bad, why would so many Hispanics move here? Why not to communist Cuba or Communist Venezuela? Why go to a bad place voluntarily?

My name is Jose. Not Carrie Gibson. This book is bad and not worth a penny.

18 people found this helpful

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Title was off.

As a Native New Mexican, I thought this book was going to be about Mexico's Northern Territories which was a vast amount stolen by the USA from Mexico.

10 people found this helpful

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  • 05-12-21

Unbearably boring

Unfortunately this book makes such a fascinating topic almost unbearable as it’s just so boring in its presentation. Nothing but dates, weights and distances. No cultural analysis or social commentary or anything to paint a picture of the places or people, just endless dates and names. The native populations are basically props for the Spanish story and nothing is done to interrogate what was basically a sustained genocide. Really dull book unfortunately

1 person found this helpful