Hunger of Memory
The Education of Richard Rodriguez
By Richard Rodriguez
(Bantam, Mass Market Paperback, 9780553272932, 224pp.)
Publication Date: January 1983
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Hunger of Memory is the story of Mexican-American Richard Rodriguez, who begins his schooling in Sacramento, California, knowing just 50 words of English, and concludes his university studies in the stately quiet of the reading room of the British Museum.
Here is the poignant journey of a “minority student” who pays the cost of his social assimilation and academic success with a painful alienation — from his past, his parents, his culture — and so describes the high price of “making it” in middle-class America.
Provocative in its positions on affirmative action and bilingual education, Hunger of Memory is a powerful political statement, a profound study of the importance of language ... and the moving, intimate portrait of a boy struggling to become a man.
Richard Rodriguez is an editor at Pacific News Service, and a contributing editor for Harper's Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and the Sunday "Opinion" section of the Los Angeles Times. He has published numerous articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The American Scholar, Time, Mother Jones, and The New Republic.
Richard received a 1997 George Foster Peabody Award for his NewsHour Essays on American life. The Peabody Award is designed to recognize "outstanding achievement in broadcast and cable," and is one of television's highest honors.
Rodriguez's awards for Hunger of Memory include the The Christopher Prize for Autobiography; The Gold Metal for Non-Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California, and the Anisfeld-Wolf Prize for Civil Rights. He was awarded the Frankel Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the International Journalism Award from the World Affairs Council of California.
Rodriguez's autobiographical triology about American public life includes Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Father (1992) and Brown: The Last Discovery of America (2002). Rodriguez lives in San Francisco.
“Arresting ... Splendidly written intellectual autobiography.”—Boston Globe
“Superb autobiographical essay ... Mr. Rodriguez offers himself as an example of the long labor of change: its costs, about which he is movingly frank, its loneliness, but also its triumph.”—New York Times Book Review