In the new work, which Pantheon Books will publish in 2023, he will explore race and identities like his — neither Black nor White — through historical research, interviews, reportage and analysis. He’ll examine what it means to be American through the lens of immigrants from around the world, interviewing historians, politicians, activists, artists, producers and others. Read more.
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Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen paperback now available wherever books are sold. Order here.
This is not a book about the politics of immigration. This book is not about immigration at all. This book is about homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but in the unsettled, unmoored psychological state that undocumented immigrants like myself find ourselves in. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can’t. This book is about constantly hiding from the government and, in the process, hiding from ourselves. This book is about what it means to not have a home.
After 25 years of living illegally in a country that does not consider me one of its own, this book is the closest thing I have to freedom.
Spanish Translation and Young Readers’ Edition also available.
Praise for Dear America
This riveting, courageous memoir ought to be mandatory reading for every American. The pressing question that emerges from these pages isn’t whether Jose deserves to be a citizen but whether we, as a nation, deserve the bravery and generosity of spirit that he offers us with an open heart and mind.
– Michelle Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The New Jim Crow
This is a book for our times. Read it, feel it at a gut level, and go beyond the noise of hate politics. Jose Antonio Vargas’s personal story is a firsthand view of what it’s like to be a child raised with anxiety as the norm. This is a book about America. I cried reading this book, realizing more fully what my parents endured.
– Amy Tan, New York Times bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and Where the Past Begins
Yes, this book couldn’t be more timely and more necessary, but this is no one-note polemic. This is a deeply personal and multilayered story told so gently and with such affection and humor that one hopes — hopes — that it would convince even the most hardened nativist of the merits of the United States continuing to be what it has always been, a nation of eternal welcome.
– Dave Eggers, New York Times bestselling author of What Is the What and The Monk of Mokha