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The book The Fight in the Fields traces the history of the United Farm Workers (UFW). It focuses on the life and work of the founder of this organization named Cesar Chavez. The reading reveals the story of his life starting from birth to creation of a collective struggle for the rights of farm workers. The purpose of this paper is to review the first chapter of this book called “The Last Family Farm”.
The book is a biography; therefore, the authors have chosen a non-fictional approach. The time period encompasses the birth of the main character in 1927 and all the major events in his life that are relevant for the modernity (Ferriss & Sandoval, 1998). The focus of the reading is on the identity of Chavez and the evolution of the United Farm Workers, which is also the major event in the book. The geographical scope is comprised of various US states; however, Chavez’s story begins in Yuma (Arizona).
The starting date and place had been chosen intentionally to exhibit the way the views and values of the future leader were cultivated in him when he had to work on a farm. The chapter also tells the story of Cesar’s father who grew a farm with other 15 siblings who were working in agriculture since early childhood.
The major argument in the first chapter centered on the idea that child labor was a norm in society, and underage children were forced to work in unfavorable conditions. The structure of the chapter enhances the main argument since it allows the reader to track the destiny of Chavez’s parents and siblings, as well as his own, and make personal conclusions regarding the conditions of working in agriculture (Ferriss & Sandoval, 1998).
The argument is based on narrative data, which help to build the general construct of the book and its further justification. The evidence used is quite convincing, and it is simple in character. For instance, the first chapter clearly articulated the way Chavez and his family became immigrants when they were dispossessed of their farm and moved to another place (Ferriss & Sandoval, 1998). In addition, the description of his background had served as a platform for building an understanding that he truly wanted to improve the lives of the poor. Such clear explanation of the first major period of his life has assisted in supporting the thesis.
Sources and their Relation to the Argument
Importantly, the authors actively rely on various primary sources. In the chapter, it is possible to observe that the authors utilize elements of the public discourse of the leader and his supporters (Ferriss & Sandoval, 1998). Apart from that, they resort to secondary sources to explore the subject more comprehensively. For example, the writers reference the works composed about the lives of farm workers (Ferriss & Sandoval, 1998).
The use of diverse resources has allowed making the main argument more convincing and strengthening the claims made about Chavez. In addition, the use of different materials provided the authors with an opportunity to build the setting for the future debate in the book (between Chavez and his opponents). In terms of weaknesses of the first chapter, no element breaks the argument down since this block of reading prepares the reader for exploring and comprehending the identity of Chavez. The book can be recommended to anyone interested in the history of UFW, as well as to the representatives of the scientific community since it explores the evolution of the union comprehensively but the manner of narration is quite understandable.
Thus, it can be concluded that the chapter helps to understand the identity of Chavez and form a wider historiography of the events. The uniqueness of the argument lies in the fact that it assists in comprehending the emergence of UFW readily. It has been achieved through the revelation of a broadly documented portrait of Chavez and the explanation of the socio-political setting.
Ferriss, S., & Sandoval, R. (1998). The fight in the fields: Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers movement. D. Hemree (Ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.