In less than a century, US Catholics grew from an excluded minority concentrated in teeming urban tenements to the largest and one of the most influential religious groups in the country, with a plethora of publishing houses, parochial schools, colleges, and universities. Yet even as they asserted a presence, Catholics remained nearly invisible in mainstream accounts of US history and entirely absent from the histories of global expansion that defined the country's twentieth century. In her innovative, well-researched, and clearly written study, Anne M. Martínez offers a corrective to this narrative. She argues that Catholics asserted a presence in the United States by laying a religious claim to “Catholic borderlands” in the Southwest. By highlighting religious affinity with a region defined by Spanish Catholic colonialism, US Catholics established their role as a protective cultural force that would enable those absorbed into US...

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