The King of Adobe: Reies López Tijerina, Lost Prophet of the Chicano Movement

Univ. of North Carolina. Sept. 2019. 392p. ISBN 9781469653297. $34.95. BIOG
Oropeza (history, Univ. of California; ¡Raza Si! ¡Guerra No!) presents a study of Reies Lopez Tijerina (1926–2015), an underappreciated figure in the Chicano civil rights movement. According to Oropeza, although Tijerina is often equated with other leaders of the movement, such as Cesar Chavez and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, his achievements seem thus far wrapped up in one day in 1967: the events of the courthouse raid over land grant rights in New Mexico. Oropeza traces Tijerina’s life through a series of stages of reinvention, from preacher to prophet, American to Chicano, successfully removing his subject from the shadow of that single event. Oropeza also does a fantastic job of placing Tijerina’s activities in the broader context of the shifting views of the American West, from one of destiny to conquest, with Tijerina’s story front and center.
VERDICT With access to newly opened archives and extensive interviews with those close to Tijerina, Oropeza delivers a well-researched, nuanced, and balanced look at this somewhat forgotten figure. Highly recommended.

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