Book Talk:  Trampling out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
12:30 - 2:00 pm
Public Affairs 5391

Presented by Frank Bardacke, Award-winning historian and author

Discussant: Devra Weber, UC Riverside, History


About the Book*:

Frank Bardacke tells the thrilling, and ultimately tragic story, of one of the most transformative labor movements in American history.


Much has been written about the United Farm Workers, but the depth of Bardacke's investigative reporting, the range of his historical knowledge, and the complexity of his story is unparalleled. Bardacke grounds his book in the history and tradition of union organizing among Mexican farm workers. He honors farm workers as few writers have done, emphasizing their endurance and skills.


In addition to illuminating sketches of UFW activists, organizers and staff, Bardacke presents a detailed and nuanced portrayal of the religious, political and ideological background of Cesar Chavez, the charismatic and brilliant leader of the UFW. All of this is told in the context of the civil rights movement, AFL-CIO machinations, the immigration debate, the liberal left split, the war in Vietnam and California politics.


"You can take little sections out of the book and they're the best thing ever written on the subject," said Hillman judge Harold Meyerson.


While the story of the decline of the UFW is painful, Trampling Out the Vintage still manages to inspire through its compelling telling of how farm workers built one of the iconic social movements of our time. Anyone intent on understanding, or more importantly building a social movement, must read this book. Trampling Out the Vintage is a monumental work of labor and social history.


*Winner of the 2012 Hillman Prize in Book Journalism; summary borrowed from

About the Speakers:


Frank Bardacke

Frank Bardacke was active in the student and anti-war movements in Berkeley in the 1960's, He moved to California's Central Coast in 1970, worked for six seasons in the Salinas Valley fields, and taught at Watsonville Adult School for twenty-five years. He is the author of Good Liberals and Great Blue Herons: Land, Labor and Politics in the Pajaro Valley and Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers, and a translator of Shadows of Tender Fury: The Letters and Communiqués of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.


Devra Weber

Devra Weber is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California Riverside, and affiliated faculty in Labor Studies and Ethnic Studies. She is the author of Dark Sweat, White Gold: California Farm Workers, Cotton and the New Deal, and Editor of  Manuel Gamio: El inmigrante Mexicano: la historia de su vida: entrevistas completas 1926-1927. Among her articles are "Historical Perspectives on Mexican Transnationalism: With Notes from Angumacutiro" and "Raiz Fuerte: Oral History and Mexicana Farmworkers." She is currently working on a manuscript about binational Mexican activism in the early 20th century. “Keeping Community, Challenging Boundaries: Indigenous Migrants, Internationalist Workers, and Mexican Revolutionaries, 1900-1920,” in John Tutino, ed Mexico and Mexicans in the History and Culture of the United States


This event is cosponsored by the UCLA History Department