A Penguin Vitae Edition
Poet, essayist, novelist, fiction writer, and labor organizer, Carlos Bulosan (1911–1956) wrote one of the most influential working class literary classics about the United States pre-World War II, a period and setting similar to that of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row. Bulosan’s semi-autobiographical novel America Is in the Heart begins with the narrator’s rural childhood in the Philippines and the struggles of land-poor peasant families affected by US imperialism after the Spanish American War of the late 1890s. Bulosan’s experiences with other Filipino migrant laborers, who endured intense racial abuse in the fields, orchards, towns, cities, and canneries of California and the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s, reexamine the ideals of the American dream. Bulosan was one of the most important twentieth-century social critics with his deeply moving account of what it was like to be criminalized in the United States as a Filipino migrant drawn to the ideals of what America symbolized and committed to social justice for all marginalized groups.