A couple of days ago, I posted with glee that my copy of Palante had shipped. Having just arrived home from doing some work, I was delighted to see the box containing the book sitting on my front porch. What follows are some initial thoughts on the text, which underscore my prior belief that everyone needs a copy of this historic and affordable book.
1. The cover printing and design are beautiful. It’s a paperback book with a glossy finish/coating (perhaps someone else knows a more technical term). Both front and back covers have flaps that have been folded in — with a short overview of the book printed on the front flap and some blurbs printed on the back flap. The pages inside the book are semi-glossy and on a heavier stock of paper than you usually find in paperbacks, which should help it hold up to all the page-turning it’ll get in libraries, community resource centers, and homes.
2. As I expected, the new introduction written by Iris Morales, entitled “Power to the People,” offers both an excellent overview of the Young Lords and their history of activism and a knowledgable assessment of their lasting impact and continued relevance. Morales does a great job of framing what was going on then (when the book was originally published) and why it should still matter to us now.
3. After the introduction, the book is pretty faithful to the original. It is printed in the same font and has the same layout as the original, however the page numbers are different for two reasons. First, the introduction is paginated as body matter rather than front matter. Second, Pedro Pietri’s “Puerto Rican Obituary” (which was first published in the original Palante) is absent. Aside from those changes, the merger of two pages announcing the introduction into one page (page 9 in this edition), and the replacement of Abramson’s original afterword (click that link for a PDF) with an “About the Authors” page, the book is exactly the same.
4. My only complaint about the book — and this is just me being picky — is that I wish the press would have taken the effort to do some better scans/prints of Abramson’s photographs. Having seen original copies of most of the photos when I was researching in the Liberation News Service Photographs collection at NYU’s Tamiment, I don’t feel like the prints in this book do Abramson’s skilled and artful photography justice. On the other hand, better scans and higher quality printing (a) could have raised the price of the book too much and (b) would have lessened the originality/authenticity of the volume.
All in all, this is most definitely a book worth buying for all of the reasons mentioned in my last post and this one. Palante incorporates moving personal narratives, savvy political analysis, and exemplary photojournalism to make it a critical resource for understanding the Young Lords. It is a must for scholars, activists, and others interested in the history of Latin@s and/or New York.