The Public Interest

Assimilation and Private Life

Martha Bayles

Summer 1982

BY delving into his experience as an assimilated, highly educated Mexican-American, Richard Rodriguez has struck a rare balance between the personal and the political, As he says in the preface to this lucid and affecting autobiography, “public issues-editorials and ballot stubs, petitions and placards, faceless formulations of greater and lesser good by greater and lesser minds-have bisected my life and changed its course.” As a member of the generation which attended college in the 1960’s, Rodriguez has felt the impact of the decade’s politics on his formal education. Yet, unlike many of his generation, he has questioned that impact and formed his identity partly in opposition to it. This remarkable book is a meditation on why.

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