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La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. by Luis J. Rodriguez

"Rodriguez's autobiographical account ... is timely, authoritative and convincing. Published almost a year after the 1992 L.A. riot and with an express interest in tracing its roots to the Ruben Salazar killing and the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, it details the writer's journey as the child of immigrant parents, from Ciudad Juarez to Los Angeles to Chicago. ... Rodriguez is forced to rescue his 15-year-old son Ramiro from a foretold death as a gang member. La vida loca, the crazy life he is involved in, reminds the author of his own adolescent (mis)fortunes before becoming a respected peacemaker among belligerent youngsters in our urban centers and the editor of Tia Chucha Press, which publishes socially conscious material. His journey is therefore transgenerational: In order to redeem himself from remorse and ghosts from the past, he knows he has to secure the soul of his troubled son; Ramiro's survival is Luis Rodriguez's salvation." -- The Nation