Deborah Cohen theorizes and documents Mexican workers in the United States in the mid-twentieth century as complex transnational and gendered agents acted upon by two governments but also acting on their own behalf for various reasons. Her analysis offers the most complicated view yet of these workers in the World War II and Korean War eras, part of a growing movement to capture these men’s stories, which are increasingly becoming unavailable.

Cohen positions her narrative between those black-and-white analyses of the bracero program as either exploitation or opportunity; her account is rather one containing nuanced voices. The book focuses on the multiple stakeholders, expectations, and rationalized agendas of nations, interest groups, and individuals involved with the program. She builds national, transnational, and supranational themes as they intersect with individual workers, their families, and their communities. Located within these multiple discourses is the Mexican worker, neither a victim nor a martyr...

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