This ambitious, fascinating, and highly readable book traces the interlocking histories of Chile and California over the longue durée of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Admirably bridging American studies with Latin American studies, Edward Dallam Melillo frames his transnational study in terms of a Pacific world paradigm that considers how “the aquatic corridor between Chile and California was both a real and imagined space of connections, flows, and aspirations” (p. 10). The book is stitched together by various histories of commodities: the impact of Chilean alfalfa, wheat, nitrate, and labor on California's gold rush and early agricultural boom; and the impact of California Monterey pine trees and Thompson Seedless grapes on Chile's lucrative and immensely destructive boom crops of the twentieth century. While other scholarship has examined these industries in greater detail, Strangers on Familiar Soil undertakes the heroic task of placing...
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Heidi Tinsman; Strangers on Familiar Soil: Rediscovering the Chile-California Connection. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 August 2016; 96 (3): 600–601. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-3601598
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