The Mexican Operation: The Mafia, Mexican Immigrants, and Racism in a 1950s Desert Town
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It’s not a history book; it’s not a traditional Western; but it’s a good, long, not-always-easy read. Lee A. Silva, a frequent contributor to Wild West Magazine, has taken a break between volumes of his Wyatt Earp biography to release The Mexican Operation: The Mafia, Mexican Immigrants, and Racism in a 1950s Desert Town. That town is Blythe, Calif., and though the 613-page 2006 book is a work of fiction, Silva says that most of what he has written “actually happened in one place or another,” and he provides real-life background with an end section of photos from his own albums. This historical novel is the story of the plight of Mexican immigrants— still relevant today, of course—and of men like the author’s father who died fighting for the rights of Mexicans to be treated like human beings. In the introduction, written by Silva in 1979, he calls what happened to the Mexican campesinos (legal and illegal farm workers) “a shame on the United States that is equaled only by its rape of the American Indian, by the enormity of slavery and the Civil War, and by the internment of its citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War Two.” It’s a Western story that should not be forgotten. For more information, visit www.mexicanoperation.com.
Originally published in the February 2007 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here.