Review Of "Oscar "Zeta" Acosta: The Uncollected Works" Edited By I. Stavans

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In



Acosta continues to be one of the most enigmatic and controversial figures in Mexican American history and letters. Writer, lawyer, political activist, and candidate for sheriff of the city of Los Angeles, he disappeared in 1974 in Mexico and was never heard from again. Since that time his persona has taken on such mythic proportions within the Mexican American community that murals dedicated to his memory can today be found in many US barrios. No one seems to know whether he committed suicide, was eliminated by a US government agency for his political activism, or was involved in drug trafficking. Although Stavans (Amherst College) does not propose to resolve this mystery, he provides an invaluable contribution to the reader's understanding of a complex human being and gifted writer. This volume includes not only drafts of Acosta's famous The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo (CH, May'73) and The Revolt of the Cockroach People (1973), but also memoirs, poetry, letters (many of which were written to his estranged first wife and reflect the author's psychological instability), autobiographical short stories, a draft of one of his teleplays, and four important historical pieces addressed to the Mexican American community. All of these writings reflect to different degrees Acosta's principal thematic obsessions, namely, the racial discrimination suffered by Mexican Americans in the US and his belief in ethnic pride as a powerful catalyst for creativity and change. All collections.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

This document is currently not available here.