Miriam Pawel is the author of The Union of Their Dreams, widely acclaimed as the most nuanced and complete history of Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers union. She is a Pulitzer-winning editor and reporter who spent twenty-five years working for Newsday and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Southern California.
Cesar Estrada Chavez founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation. He rose from migrant worker to national icon, a journey that vaulted him into the ranks of the great charismatic leaders of the twentith century. Almost two decades after his death, Chavez remains far and away the most significant Latino leader in the history of this country. Yet, his full life story has been told only in hagiography—until now.
Miriam Pawel’s new biography paints a complex portrait of the famed labor leader. In this deeply researched, richly empathetic work, Chavez emerges as a heroic figure with tragic flaws, a brilliant leader who sometimes stumbled, and a pragmatic strategist often at odds with his own elusive, visionary dreams. Rather than tarnishing Chavez’s legacy, this unvarnished portrait only enriches one of his most salient qualities: his profound humanity. He was an original, experimental thinker with eclectic passions--a self-educated historian, an avid reader, and a disciple of non-violent protest like his hero, Gandhi. Pawel’s biography will trace Chavez’s astonishing rise, as he developed strategies that empowered the poor and vanquished California’s powerful agriculture industry, to the eventual shift from inspirational leadership to cult of personality, and the consequences of that transformation.
Like no previous portrayal, Cesar Chavez will separate the man from the myth and explore what propelled an uneducated Mexican American--a short, soft-spoken man, unimposing in physical appearance or in speech--into a national icon.
Cesar Chavez led what arguably became the last great social movement in America, transforming the lives of thousands who joined his crusade. This biography by a Pulitzer Prize winner paints an authoritative portrait of the national icon.