By Luis J. Rodriguez
Touchstone, $24.99, 323 pages

Luis Rodriguez’s is the author of the best-seller Always Running, which detailed his odyssey in the Mexican-American gangs of Los Angeles. This book is a more complete autobiography, which details his activities to date.

The author has led an incredibly active life, with literary works ranging from children’s books, non-fiction, literature and poetry. The recipient of numerous literary fellowships, Rodriguez has led a hand-to-mouth existence, partly because much of his income has been devoted to various small presses, and Latino youth organizations. The book details his Los Angeles and Chicago, and his attempts to work with gang youths.

At the same time, Rodriguez details his personal tragedy – for some years losing his son to the gang life, and ultimately to prison. He is quite frank in detailing his failures as a father and a husband, his battles with alcohol, resulting in problems between himself, his four wives, and his oldest daughter.

He is an excellent writer, and the book is absorbing and easy to read. I would have welcomed additional information about the various social movements that the author has been involved with, rather than simply a recitation of his seemingly endless activities and life experiences.


Reviewed by Dick Weissman,