BOOKS: Borders and Crossers


CLAS Contributing Editor Joshua Jelly-Schapiro interviews essayist and author Rebecca Solnit about her recent book Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics.

Though Henry Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” is for many Americans an unavoidable standby of high school civics, it is a fair bet to claim that if some recall the principles of citizenship it espoused, few recollect the particular policies its author opposed. In July of 1846, the naturalist left his pond-side meditations to spend a night in the Concord jail protesting the United States’ war against Mexico, which had begun in earnest a few weeks before when a group of American settlers seized a Mexican garrison in Sonoma, Alta California. Two years later the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded Mexico’s northern half to the United States, thereby concluding a war which “Mexico never forgot,” writes Rebecca Solnit in her new book, Storming the Gates of Paradise, “and the United States can never quite remember.”

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro
Publication date: 
August 21, 2007
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article