Miriam Pawel – Author of The Crusades of Cesar Chavez and A Union of Their Dreams

Miriam Pawel is an author, journalist and independent scholar who has spent most of the last decade writing about California farmworkers, agriculture, Cesar Chavez, and the United Farm Workers union. Her latest book, “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez,” has been hailed in starred reviews as the first and definitive biography of this iconic leader. The biography picks up from where her first book left off; “The Union of Their Dreams” is the story of the heady and life-changing days of the farm worker movement, told through the eyes of eight key participants. Pawel worked for 25 years as a reporter and editor. Her recent work was supported by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The two books that followed, A Union of Their Dreams (200x) and The Crusades of Cesar Chavez (200x) were marked by controversy when they were released. Their has been a growing consensus amongst scholars and activists of the era that Pawel’s works are the most comprehensive and insightful on Cesar and the growth and subsequent decline of the UFW. you can read the complete editorial here: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/31/opinion/la-oe-pawel31-2010mar31

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Ms. Pawel’s in-depth reporting for the Los Angeles Times on the United Farmworkers status in 2006 was profound and controversial. The series, entitled, UFW A Broken Contract,  had an explosive impact especially amongst  Chicanos of Cesar’s generation who had been inspired by Cesar Chavez. You can read the entire Los Angeles Times series here: http://www.unionoftheirdreams.com/PDF/latimes_series.pdf

The two books that followed, A Union of Their Dreams (200x) and The Crusades of Cesar Chavez (200x) were marked by controversy when they were released. Their has been a growing consensus amongst scholars and activists of the era that Pawel’s works are the most comprehensive and insightful on Cesar and the growth and subsequent decline of the UFW. In an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times on the occasion of Cesar Chavez’s birthday she wrote:

“Chavez merits an important place in the history books, as a civil rights leader, an inspiration for a generation of Chicanos and the founder of a movement that transformed thousands of lives. But the history is more complex than the hagiography, and more enlightening…Chief among the lessons we should take from his life is that heroes are human, with real flaws. You follow them blindly at your own risk. The biggest regret that many who worked closely with Chavez now express is that they did not speak up for what they believed in when it might have mattered”

You can read the complete editorial here: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/31/opinion/la-oe-pawel31-2010mar31