Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas

Harper. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780062938473. $26.99. SOC SCI
In this challenging and rewarding book, journalist and activist Lovato passionately weaves his own highly personal account with those of the people of El Salvador along with Salvadorans in the United States. As portrayed here, they share a unified narrative that Lovato and many others have lived in the decades leading up to the present day. His book takes readers on an exploration of his recollections, including his memories of his father’s experiences in a violent 1930s anti-dictatorship uprising. While Lovato explores his and Salvadoran’s remembrances, he incorporates history of both El Salvador and the communities in the United States to which people migrated. He also argues against atrocities and multiple wrongs visited on Salvadorans. The book is not particularly easy to read, in part because of the sometimes-violent content, but also because Lovato’s work moves dizzyingly back and forth in time and place. But, overall, he takes readers into the minds of those who lived through and often propagated violence affecting the lives of so many other Salvadorans, including himself.
VERDICT Lovato’s revealing story enables us to look within minds and hearts that have been molded by immigrants’ experiences in their home country and their adopted one. A worthwhile account that brings a personal face to a complex, nuanced issue.
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