About the book, from Harper Collins:
“Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, called “the most famous undocumented immigrant in America,” tackles one of the defining issues of our time in this explosive and deeply personal call to arms.
“This is not a book about the politics of immigration. This book––at its core––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.”
—Jose Antonio Vargas, from Dear America“
About the Author, Jose Antonio Vargas:
“Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and Tony-nominated producer. A leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, he founded the non-profit narrative change organization Define American, named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company.
In 2020, Fortune named him one of its “40 under 40” most influential people in government and politics. His best-selling memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, was published by HarperCollins in 2018. His second book, White Is Not a Country, will be published by Knopf in 2023.
In 2011, the New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME worldwide with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story he wrote.
Jose produced and directed Documented, an autobiographical documentary feature film that aired on CNN and received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary. Also in 2015, MTV aired White People, an Emmy-nominated television special he produced and directed on what it means to be young and white in a demographically-changing America. In 2019, he co-produced Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed Broadway play What the Constitution Means to Me, which was nominated for a Tony Award for “Best Play” and is streamable on Amazon Prime Video.
Among accolades he has received are the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA and honorary degrees from Emerson College, Colby College, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Passionate about the role of arts in society and promoting equity in education, he serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students.
A product of the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a proud graduate of San Francisco State University (’04), where he was named Alumnus of the Year in 2012, and Mountain View High School (’00). An elementary school named after Vargas opened in his hometown of Mountain View, California in August 2019.”
Why I selected Dear America for the August 2022 Giveaway:
- I was inspired that the University of Arizona College selected this book as their 2022-2023 Common Reading book, and was excited to check it out and share it with our Tucson community, especially this week as UA students return to campus!
- Jose exhibited immense bravery by sharing his story publicly and coming out as undocumented, all at great personal risk to his own life and livelihood (particularly as a successful, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist).
- This memoir will really make you think about what it means to be American and how we define citizenship – and the mountain of challenges faced by those who are undocumented.
- One of the gnome’s helpers worked with Jose when he was at the San Francisco Chronicle, so I was personally very excited to share his story with my friends and neighbors in Tucson ❤