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March 19, 2020

The Road to Delano by John DeSimone ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"There is nothing we can do about the violence of the growers and their thugs.  The courts and the police are in cahoots with them, so that is how they operate.  But the reaction of the poor workers is to strike back.   That is what I must stop. They want to hurt the growers the way they have been injured. If they do, we will lose everything.  So that is why i am fasting.  To quell the anger in their hearts."  (Ceser Chavez p 245-6)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

March 2020; Rare Bird Books; 978-1644280317
audio, ebook, print (320 pages)
Hispanic American literature
I remember the Delano Grape strike in 1965-70 and I remember reading about Cesar Chavez and his non-violent approach to bring justice to the migrant workers.  There was so much going on in this country during these years - anti war protests, race riots, and the deaths of two people who also believed in a non-violent approach to bring equality - Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.  Even though Chavez isn't remembered and talked about as much as King and Kennedy, he was still a major part of our history.  This wonderful, well-researched novel, though not directly about Cesar Chavez, is about what he did to help the migrant workers and the people who worked against him

The year is 1968 and Jack Duncan is a senior in high school who is hoping for a baseball scholarship to get him as far away from Delano as possible.  He and his mother are about to lose the farm that his father started before his death in a car accident ten years earlier.   The city of Delano is split between the growers - who have the police and the courts on their side - and the migrant workers who were paid minimal salaries and were forced to live in terrible conditions while they were working for the growers.  When someone tells Jack that his father was murdered, he starts his own investigation into his father's death.  His mother is upset with him and he is in jeopardy of losing his scholarship.  Despite the fact that his mother wants him to quit searching for the truth and get out of Delano, he persists in trying to understand what happened.  As he gets further into the corruption in Delano, he has to decide if he can risk his life and college career to find out the truth.  Helping him in his quest are his best friend Adrian―the son of a boycotting fieldworker who works closely with Cesar Chavez and his girlfriend Ella who begs him to stay safe but is also proud of what he is doing.  When Adrian is thrown into jail on trumped-up charges, it's up to Jack to try to get him out of jail no matter what it takes.

This book is a well-researched look at life in California and the fight between the growers and the workers.  It is based on real history and real characters about an often forgotten event in US history.  The three main characters, Jack, Ella, and Adrian were all well written and I was rooting for their success throughout the novel.

The Road to Delano is the path Jack, Ella, and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, their destiny. This novel will make you mad and it will make you cry as it takes you to a different time in the history of our country.

Buy The Road to Delano at Amazon

Purchase Links: Barnes & Noble | Rare Bird Books

Connect with the Author: Website and Instagram

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. This seems like a timely novel for current day. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours