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Basic Books
  • Hardcover
  • $26.99 / $30.00 CAN
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-465-03669-1
A New York Times Best Seller
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

"A witty alternative history of the United States.... The overall effect is more evocative of a grand political cartoon than a comic book.... A Most Imperfect Union is not a comprehensive history of the United States, it's the perspective of two ‘hyphenated Americans.' But it's a lens we're all free to use—the new arrivals as well as those born here, hoping to see their country through fresh eyes."
New York Times Book Review

"A Most Imperfect Union is at its best when telling those tales of the dispossessed.... These profiles are painted with compelling humanity.... Imperfect Union is truest to its own stated cartoon conquest when it plumbs lesser-known stories — and actually lives up to its battle cry of saying ‘Enough!' of focusing solely on those great dead white men."
Washington Post

"A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History Of The United States isn't just hilarious; it's also important."
—NPR's AltLatino

A Most Imperfect Union

A Contrarian History of the United States

By Ilan Stavans

From the author-illustrator team behind the acclaimed Latino USA, an exuberant, irreverent survey of the American experience—a cartoon history of the people, by the people, and for the people.

A New York Times Best Seller

Enough with the dead white men! Forget what you learned in school! Ever since Columbus—who was probably a converted Jew—"discovered" the New World, the powerful and privileged have usurped American history. The true story of the United States lies not with the founding fathers or robber barons, but with the country's most overlooked and marginalized peoples: the workers, immigrants, housewives, and slaves who built America from the ground up and made this country what it is today.

In A Most Imperfect Union, cultural critic Ilan Stavans and award-winning cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz present a vibrant alternative history of America, giving full voice to the country's unsung but exceptional people. From African royals to accused witches, from Puerto Rican radicals to Arab immigrants, Stavans and Alcaraz use sardonic humor and irreverent illustrations to introduce some of the most fascinating characters in American history—and to recount travesties and triumphs that mainstream accounts all too often ignore. What emerges is a colorful group portrait of these United States, one that champions America's progress while also acknowledging its missteps.

Sweeping and cinematic, stretching from the nation's prehistory to the post-9/11 era, A Most Imperfect Union is a joyous, outrageous celebration of the complex, sometimes unruly individuals and forces that have shaped our ever-changing land.

Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Lalo Alcaraz is a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and the creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip, "La Cucaracha." He lives in Whittier, California.

Hachette Book Group