Raúl Coronado, A World Not to Come: A History of Latino Writing and Print Culture (Harvard University Press, 2013) 555 pages.
Review by Tamar Herzog, Harvard University
In this book A World Not to Come, Coronado examines ideas and concepts that circulated in Texas between 1810 and the 1850s. His story begins with the legitimacy crisis in Spain following the Napoleonic invasion (1808) and continues throughout the breakup of the Spanish empire. Allowing the formation of what are now the various Latin American states, this process, he argues, also produced important developments in the territories now belonging to the USA. In Texas, it saw locals declare their independence and elaborate a republican constitution (1813), repression and conquest by royalist forces, obtaining independence in 1821 as part of a Mexican nation, and experience neglect, revolution (1835-6), annexation by the US (1845), and war (1846-8). During this period, local Spaniards failed to construct a state, successfully imagine a nation, or obtain recognition as legitimate participants in a public debate that could also be conducted in Spanish. In the following decades, these Tejanos were also gradually stripped of their elite status. Their contributions denied and their attempts to forge alliances with Anglos rejected, they were converted into members of a marginalized group and racialized as “Latinos.” Although he laments this result, Coronado is not interested in explaining how this happened. Instead, his aim is to recall an earlier (forgotten) time, in which this outcome was not foretold.