The book is a fascination study of just how people fought, cheated, integrated, and adjusted to the other. More importantly, while he answers some important historical questions, he creates questions regarding many 20th century issues that will require addressing.
Monroy describes in detail seigniorial Californio society. During the eighteenth-century Enlightenment Period, settlers were considered 'gente de razon', or "reasonable people," while the purportedly unsophisticated and instinctive Native Americans were labeled 'sin razon', and believed to be "without reason." Irregardless of their childlike qualities or simple cultures, Monroy states how, "the Indians remained resolutely, in the Californio mind, sin razon" (p. 191). With this thinking well versed in the minds of the Euro-Americans and Spanish, it could be assumed that any actions taken against the Native Americans was not in any way unreasonable!
Munroy gets detailed with his history of Spanish and Mexican California by relating in anthropological manner mundane everyday things such as work, sexuality, and body discipline. He examines the patriarchical hierarchies in the missions and ranchos. He reviews the emergence of California's market economy and the character and implications of the incessant racial violence that continues to this day. According to the facts Monroy has brought together here, the racial politics and injustice of California go back a long way.
Monroy begins the book with accounts of conquest by Spanish missionaries, and then moves onward to the Mexican and American rancheros, ending with the beginning of the market economy and the businessman. Most importantly, Monroy gives voice to the victims of all of these - California's Native American population. If any emotion or specific passion comes from read