Californio Voices
The Oral Memoirs of José María Amador and Lorenzo Asisara
Western History - Mexican American Studies
6 x 9, 272 pp.
13 b&w photos. 1 map. Notes.
Pub Date: 09/26/2011
Al Filo: Mexican American Studies Series
Price:        $19.95 s


Published by University of North Texas Press

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Californio Voices

The Oral Memoirs of José María Amador and Lorenzo Asisara

Edited by Gregorio Mora-Torres

In the early 1870s, Hubert H. Bancroft and his assistants set out to record the memoirs of early Californios, one of them being eighty-three-year-old Don José María Amador, a former “Forty-Niner” during the California Gold Rush and soldado de cuera at the Presidio of San Francisco. Amador tells of reconnoitering expeditions into the interior of California, where he encountered local indigenous populations. He speaks of political events of Mexican California and the widespread confiscation of the Californios’ goods, livestock, and properties when the United States took control. A friend from Mission Santa Cruz, Lorenzo Asisara, also describes the harsh life and mistreatment the Indians faced from the priests.

Both the Amador and Asisara narratives were used as sources in Bancroft’s writing but never published themselves. Gregorio Mora-Torres has now rescued them from obscurity and presents their voices in English translation (with annotations) and in the original Spanish on facing pages. This bilingual edition will be of great interest to historians of the West, California, and Mexican American studies.

GREGORIO MORA-TORRES received his Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of California at Irvine and teaches in the Department of Mexican American Studies at San Jose State University.

What Readers Are Saying:

“This book presents a very convincing and interesting narrative about Mexican California. Its frankness and honesty are refreshing.” --Richard Griswold del Castillo, San Diego State University

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