“Kenneth C. Burt has searched for the origins and growth of the California Latino civic voice, sharing his findings with his readers in this attractive, informative, and interpretive read. Burt helps us to understand ethnic politics while more providing more specific information in some 400 pages than anyone else has to date. This commendable narrative should enrich many classrooms.”
– Juan Gómez-Quiñones, Pacific Historical Review

“Burt’s comprehensive book (more than 350 pages in length) establishes itself as a seminal contribution to the literature. It does so for the breadth of its coverage, the unique insights it provides drawing often on little known, but fascinating, facts, and the author’s remarkable capacity to synthesize the various epochs of Latino politics into a coherent narrative that helps the reader piece together otherwise seemingly disconnected developments in the trajectory of Latino public life.”
Henry A. J. Ramos, Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy

“In this important, comprehensive, and carefully researched book, Kenneth Burt has unearthed the origins and mapped the evolution of Latino political power in California, tracing an unbroken arc of ascension that, Burt argues, began in the 1930s, much earlier than has been generally understood.”
Gerald C. Lubenow, Journal of Cold War Studies

“Kenneth Burt has constructed an impressive study of Latino politics in California from 1939 to 2005… making it an excellent source of historical information. The book also seeks the lessons that can be learned by present day and future political activists.

“The guiding structure of the book is one of its greatest strengths. Each chronologically arranged chapter highlights one or more organizations established to advance the political interests of Mexican American Californians, starting with El Congreso (the First National Congress of the Mexican and Spanish Speaking Peoples of the United States).”
– Mary Ovick, Southern California Quarterly

“Burt argues that voter registration drives were crucial to the successes of Latino political organizations by the early community activists… Another key to Latino political gains has been the organization of an expanding web of political alliances.

“Burt’s findings hold significance for political activists and Latino candidates who seek to raise the level of Latino involvement in politics.
Emily Acevedo, The California Journal of Politics and Policy

“a welcome addition to the history of Mexican Americans in California”
– Joseph A. Rodriguez, Western Historical Quarterly

“The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics
provides in-depth, extensive coverage of the development of Latino politics in California that has implications for studies of Latino politics across the United States.”
Jessica Lavariega Monforti, Journal of American Ethnic History

“Burt draws on archival research and interviews with surviving participants to recover the experience of scores of activists and the largely forgotten movements and organizations they built.”

“His account of post-WWII period alone will stand as an essential reading in California history. Most important is his emphasis on the significance of progressive labor-Latino history.”
– Paul Johnston, Labor Studies Journal

“Advances the thesis that Latino involvement in electoral politics occurred much earlier than is commonly understood and was achieved by mobilizing voters and developing coalitions.”
The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

“impressively researched, with good use of oral histories emphasizes the importance of coalition building ... a ‘who’s who’ of the state’s Latino leaders, activists, and political organizations”
– Andrea Gill, Journal of the West

“Written in a lucid, non-academic style, The Search for a Civic Voice is a refreshing throwback to when histories were not only meant to be informative but dramatic and entertaining… The Search for a Civic Voice should become a classic on 20th century Hispanic politics in California.”
Rosa Martha Villareal, Tertulia Magazine

“Kenneth C. Burt’s The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics is a compelling historical walkthrough of the political empowerment strategies used by Latinos in the 1940s through the 1990s and the present… Using more than 200 oral histories, archival research and academic literature from a number of fields, the narrative of Civic Voice reflects the author’s own career in politics as a participant-observer [i]n the tradition of Ernesto Galarza and Carey McWilliams...”
David Pacheco, Californiana, Center for California Studies, California State University, Sacramento (pdf)

“…explores the rise of the Latino vote… California Federation of Teachers political director Kenneth Burt, also a historian, has written a very good book on Latino politics called ‘The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics.”
– Lisa Vorderrueggen, political editor, Contra Costa Times

“Kenneth C. Burt [is the] author of an excellent new book. The Search For A Civic Voice: California Latino Politics. Burt tells the story of Latino politics from before World War II to the present day. His book explains the long and difficult Latino rise to present day influence and shows the complexities and subtleties of the Latino community in a way missed by the mainstream news media.

“The characters in his story are amazingly diverse--business leaders, small shop owners, publishers, Communist Party members, priests, politicians, union leaders, housewives, factory workers, doctors, teachers, social workers, Republicans, Democrats and many more.”
– Former Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Boyarsky, LA Observed

“Kenneth Burt has written an exceptional book: he proviodes readers with a clear lens to view the past and to understand the rise of Latino politics.”
– Marty Bennett, Community College Perspective (pdf)

“Burt hopes to spread a history lesson he believes Latino activists should heed: Latinos have gained politically when they have formed working coalitions with other groups, and they have foundered when they have focused inwardly“.
Timm Herdt, Ventura Star

The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics, by Kenneth C. Burt with foreword by Antonio Villaraigosa, looks at the growing Latino political influence in California. It tells the story of how Latinos emerged from the sidelines of civic life to the large and expanding role Latinos currently hold.

“The book attempts to answer how modern Latino politics began and identify the players involved in the legacy of these political pioneers. It connects the state of politics in California today with how it was influenced by its predecessors.

“Though The Search For a Civic Voice begins as a story of firsts, these events do not emerge in a vacuum. The study of the coalitions built by Latino political pioneers and their descendents among labor, business, religious and other groups sheds light on the organic process of an immigrant community finding its civic voice,’ Burt writes in the introduction. The author is the political director of the California Federation of Teachers.

“Villaraigosa comments, ‘This book provides inspiration and insight into better understanding both of the past seventy years and ongoing political developments. Finally, this is a powerful tribute to the sacrifices, struggles and successes of women and men who were often unsung heroes.’”
– “New Reads,“ Hispanic Link Weekly Report, Washington D.C.

“With a time frame that begins in the late 1930s and runs to the present, Burt takes his time analyzing the reasons for and results of Latino political power in the state... His original research is impressive... His analysis of the debates over strategies and tactics of the emerging Latino civil rights movement sparkles with insight.”
– Seth Sandrosky, Sacramento News & Review

“…the San Francisco Bay Area Labor History Workshop[‘s]…annual dinner honored the publication of Ken Burt’s awaited book The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics.”
– Don Watson, Newsletter of LAWCHA: The Labor and Working-Class History Association, Duke University

“This historical account traces Latino politics in California from before World War II through the coalition-building that helped propel Antonio Villaraigosa to victory in the 2005 Los Angeles mayoral election.”
The Journal of San Diego History

“Kenneth Burt has finished his long-awaited study of Latino politics in California. Significantly, Burt pays special attention to the Catholic dimensions of this issue, a dimension which is often neglected.”
– Dr. Jeffrey M. Burns, Newsletter of the Friends of the Archives of the Archdiocese of San Francisco

“…details the involvement of Jewish social justice groups, including the Jewish Labor Committee…a beautiful telling of political and social vitality inspired by California’s diversity.”
Newsletter of the Jewish Labor Committee, Western Region

“…my longtime Sacramento politico friend, Kenneth Burt…has written the most comprehensive and exhaustively researched book on Latino politics in California. There simply isn’t another book like this one.”
– Rueben Martinez, proprietor of Martinez Books and Art Gallery in Santa Ana, and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow


“The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics (2007) discuss(es) milestone appointments of Latino politicians in California…

“While some may hold that women, farm workers, or other working people are too marginal to matter to the work of a public intellectual, I contend that the such a judgment is of little to no value for the LatCrit [Latina & Latino Critical Legal Theory] project. Rather, learning and teaching about Latina intellectuals like Dolores Huerta, Luisa Moreno, Josephine Fierro, and others grounds the notion of a Latina/o (public/legal) in a substantial history that reaches to the early decades of the twentieth century, a time that historian and labor leader, Kenneth Burt, labels the birth of California Latino politics.” —
– Marc-Tizoc González, “Latina/o (Public/Legal) Intellectuals, Social Crises, and Contemporary Social Movements,” American University Journal of Gender, Policy & the Law

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