Cover image for A war of words : Chicano protest in the 1960s and 1970s
A war of words : Chicano protest in the 1960s and 1970s
Hammerback, John C.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [1985]

Physical Description:
x, 187 pages ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.M5 H36 1985 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The authors analyze the rhetorical discourse characteristic of the Chicano protest movement of the sixties and seventies, focusing on four prominent activists, Cesar Chavez, Rodolfo Corky Gonzalez, Jose Angel Gutierrez, and Reies Lopez Tijerina. How these militant spokesmen employed their extensive skill with words is closely examined and analyzed. In the process, much about the nature, function, and meaning of the Chicano protest movement becomes clear. Similarities and differences in their rhetorical styles are discussed, as are their different backgrounds, personalities, goals, audiences, and the issues they addressed. Included is an analysis of the themes, appeals, and symbols they popularized in ther personal vision of what America ought to be for Chicanos. The volume also contains an essay by Jose Angel Gutierrez, an essay on the counter-rhetoric and ideology of other Mexican-American leaders of the time, and a bibliographic essay.

Author Notes

mmerback /f John /i C.

sen /f Richard /i J.

ierrez /f Jose /i Angel

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Hammerback, Jensen, and Gutierrez attempt to fill a lucuna in the race relations literature by focusing upon the leaders of the Mexican-American protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The rhetoric of four Chicano artists is examined, albeit in an unsystematic and superficial manner. The social, cultural, historical, and socioeconomic conditions of Hispanics are fleetingly presented. A short biographical sketch is drawn for each of the activists: Reies Lopez Tijerina, Cesar Chavez, Rodolfo ``Corky'' Gonzalez, and Jose Angel Gutierrez (one of the authors). Because Hammerback and Jensen are in speech communication, the ``rhetoric'' of each of the leaders is examined, but the treatment is shallow. Attempts are made to focus upon rhetorical themes such as Hispanic values of family, religion and manhood; on stylistic techniques, including imagery and parallelism; on transitions; on poetry; and on terms such as Chicano, Aztlan, and La Raza. The analysis is thin and haphazard. Important questions are ignored or dismissed, e.g., was the protest due to the charismatic leaders or the adverse situations of the followers? Why did the protests disappear while the bad conditions remained? What is the future of Hispanic protest? The book also briefly presents the response of moderate Mexican-American leaders: Henry B. Gonzalez, Eligio de la Garza, Edward R. Roybal, Manuel Lujan Jr., and Joseph M. Montoya. The topic deserves a better treatment and the bibliographic essay would be a place to start. As both social science and an analysis of the rhetoric of charismatic leaders the book fails. An old joke concludes that a camel is a horse designed by a committee; A War of Words is a two humper.-A.E. Roberts, Texas Tech University