Scholars have long puzzled over the shifting dynamics of Mexico–United States relations, most often examining unidirectional flows of people and ideas that privilege a dominant northern colossus infecting its southern neighbor suffering from a vulnerable economic and political immune system. In recent decades, however, diplomatic histories and studies of immigration have moved beyond rigid national (and nationalist) interpretations to understand how events and practices in the two countries have mutually shaped each other's realities. Furthermore, the turn in Latino and Latin American studies to transnational and comparative perspectives has enriched our knowledge of the simultaneous and related experiences of both greater Mexico and the United States in the world.

It is in this context that Ruben Flores's elegantly crafted work Backroads Pragmatists: Mexico's Melting Pot and Civil Rights in the United States is a welcome contribution. Disrupting an unfairly assumed intellectual inequality...

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