Cesar Chavez founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation. He rose from migrant worker to national icon, becoming one of the great charismatic leaders of the 20th century. Two decades after his death, Chavez remains the most significant Latino leader in US history. Yet his life story has been told only in hagiography - until now.
In the first comprehensive biography of Chavez, Miriam Pawel offers a searching yet empathetic portrayal. Chavez emerges here as a visionary figure with tragic flaws; a brilliant strategist who sometimes stumbled; and a canny, streetwise organizer whose pragmatism was often at odds with his elusive, soaring dreams. He was an experimental thinker with eclectic passions - an avid, self-educated historian and a disciple of Gandhian non-violent protest.
Drawing on thousands of documents and scores of interviews, this superbly written life deepens our understanding of one of Chavez's most salient qualities: his profound humanity. Pawel traces Chavez's remarkable career as he conceived strategies that empowered the poor and vanquished California's powerful agriculture industry, and his later shift from inspirational leadership to a cult of personality, with tragic consequences for the union he had built. The Crusades of Cesar Chavez reveals how this most unlikely American hero ignited one of the great social movements of our time.
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It seemed honest
It showed his development as a leader in an honest way, so that future leaders can use his life like a case study on effective leadership, and see the "lid" that kept him from growing outside of California. The book worked hard to cut through the hero worship and honestly show the real man.
He is obviously a Spanish speaker, and narrated in a way that made Chavez sound real. I had to speed his voice up to 1.5x to make it sound right to me, because he speaks very slowly, but overall, he has a compassionate, funny, emotionally on key voice.
Great insight into a great leader