Where the Ox Does Not Plow, an autobiographical ethnography, consists of twenty-six life episodes that chronicle Manuel Peña's transformative journey from an impoverished migrant worker to a career in academia. Inspired by his experiences and those of the people around him in Texas and California, Peña reflects on a wide range of issues arising from the historically marginalized condition of Mexicans and other Latinos in the United States. The narrative will engage readers with a broad range of human experiences, from race relations and economic exploitation to the intimacy of familial and romantic love.
"Vignettes of conflict between ethnicities, the difficulty of integrating into American society, family closeness, love, shock, and survival, Where the Ox Does Not Plow is a resoundingly authentic account of a rich and varied life."--Midwest Book Review
"Peña's vignettes about his childhood, his education and his romantic encounters reveal his tremendous gift for writing and for treating with honor the story of so many born in that era who struggled to live with dignity, who were blessed with an indefatigable will to go where 'the ox does not plow.'"--San Antonio Express-News
"Peña's chronicle is presented with an endearing mixture of joy, sorrow, courage and uncertainty that captures the true essence of the immigrant experience....you may find this book hard to put down once you have entered his world."--La Herencia
"Peña's writing is lyrical, elegant, and evocative, conveying history through storytelling and making tangible the smell of the earth, the ache of overworked muscles, the fierceness of thunderstorms."--Texas Observer
"...an insightful glimpse into an important period of social change, as lived by a man who was transformed by those times."--Rigoberto Gonzalez, El Paso Times