The Death of the Brown Americano chronicles the life and experiences of the Buenavida family in New Mexico from 1850 through 1913. In this fictional story, Jose N. Uranga tells the very real stories of many Hispanic families as they navigate their new country and, in many respects, their new world.
Like most Hispanics in this time, the Buenavidas had to survive and adapt in this new environment while striving to preserve their own cultural values. Through the individual lives of the Buenavidas, we are given the opportunity to know the history of Hispanics in the Southwest and how they influenced the society that they were thrust into and eventually became a part of. Their story also gives us a glimpse of how history has impacted the social structure and the lives of Hispanic families then and in the present day.
The Death of the Brown Americano is a lesson in history thoughtfully weaved into a heartwarming family story. It speaks about opportunities as well as injustice. It tells a story that many immigrant families are familiar with, which is that of obstacles and the resulting triumphs or defeat. It is a mirror of families who may have had the foresight of the Buenavidas to face their obstacles head-on and proactively take advantage of the opportunities that were on their horizon. These families thrived and experienced unprecedented success. Others, unfortunately, were not able to do the same and did not have the same success. Both of these stories need to be told because we can learn from them.
This story follows on Uranga's The Buenavida Dilemma and flows in the same vein. For the present generations of Hispanic families, The Death of the Brown Americano is a reminder of the challenges of assimilation that their ancestors have faced. It is a book that appreciates the sacrifices and the courage they had to muster to thrive in an unfamiliar world. For others, this book serves to expand one's knowledge and understanding of the plight of immigrants and how Hispanic families have contributed to the communities that they became a part of.
"A touching story of a traditional Hispanic family which brings to life key events in the history of New Mexico during the late 1800's by weaving them with family history. An excellent supplement for New Mexico history teachers."
—Cynthia Castañeda, PhD
Jose N. Uranga grew up in a poor family in southeastern New Mexico as the eldest of seven children. Determined to succeed, he utilized part-time jobs in high school to purchase his own clothes and help his family. Enrolling in a college prep course of study, Jose graduated high school with high grades. Earning academic scholarships, he graduated from college and law school-the first of his expanded maternal and paternal families to do so. During his thirty-year law career, Jose conducted the research that lays the foundation for his Buenavida trilogy: The Buenavida Dilemma, The Death of the Brown Americano, and The Buenavida America. Jose lives in both Sarasota, Florida, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.