‘Lettuce Wars,’ a must-read about farmworkers’ struggles for justice
Jan 9, 2014 By Eduardo Stanley
Bruce Neuburger dedicated five years to write about his life as a farmworker in the fields of the rich Salinas Valley, California in his new book, “Lettuce Wars”, which takes readers on a unique voyage written by an activist who worked 10 years as a farmworker between 1970 and 1980.
“Lettuce Wars” takes a look at the infighting within Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers (UFW) and at labor abuses farm workers experience.
The value of this book goes far beyond a testimony of hard work, farming or the landscape surrounding the seasonal harvesting. Neuburger did a great job bringing up the historical and sociological context of the farmworkers’ movement of the XX century, the “invisible” strings that moves politics around agriculture and its huge appetite for cheap labor and voiceless workers.
“When people talk about that war and the ‘heroism’ of it all, they rarely, if ever, mention that it was the hundreds of thousands of black people who came to work in the factories and shipyards and the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans who came to work the fields and railroads that made U.S. war effort and victory possible” writes Neuburger in his book.
This paragraph is a good example of Neuburger’s ‘take no prisoners’ tone when dealing with the official and rosy story of the American Dream fairytale…