New Book: “La generación que tomó las calles”

La generación que tomó las calles [The Generation that Took the Streets] by Manuel de J. González, was published this year by Mariana Editores. Here is a fragment from the prologue by Guillermo Rebollo Gil.

La generación que tomó las calles by Manuel de J. González is a kind of manual for being young, for looking for trouble —according to Roque Dalton— and for learning to grow old with dignity. The reference to the Nicaraguan poet is neither accidental nor is it a whim. After all, the eight essays gathered in the volume tell the story of how a young man from Moca, who arrived at the university city of Río Piedras at age of 16 in 1963, went to a political riot and was later persecuted in a federal case for defending the public university from the ROTC, took a bullet for defending the operation of a newspaper, and featured in a six-volume police file for daring to live up to his political principles.

The story, of course, is much more complex, convulsive, and interesting than this condensed summary [. . .]. Fortunately for us, the author knows how to tell it —in an agile, biting, and ironic prose—aware that doing so sheds light on aspects of the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico that are still unknown, or that have been misunderstood, or that we still don’t fully understand. Manuel, by the way, met Dalton, but I leave that anecdote to him so that he can tell it in these pages. For now, I am content to launch from the outset, and abruptly, this peek into the inner world of that generation of young people who took to the streets in the 60s and 70s to fight for the freedom of our country.

Manuel writes: “In the middle of the night we left the campus in groups and dispersed towards our homes, without finding policemen on the way. My family, from Madrid Street, which was located near the university grounds, must have heard the shots thinking that the youngest of their children would be struck down by them. Their apprehension during that long night was terrible, but I don’t think that, at that moment, in the euphoria of the “battle,” I would stop to think about that other side of the challenge. I went to sleep with the calmness of the soldier who returns from the trench, without looking at my surroundings.”

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