The Dark Side of the Dream

About the Book

Two Mexican brothers, Jose Luis and Francisco Salazar, and their families migrate to the U.S. shortly after the U.S. entry into World War II. The story depicts their struggles as they come to grips with a new, often hostile environment. Later, the family prominently figures in two of the most tragic, yet stirring incidents in Mexican-American history.

The first involves the all-Hispanic rifle company that as part of the Texas Volunteer Division lost its colors at the Battle of the Rapido River in Italy during the Second World War, when 156 badly-mangled Hispanic soldiers were ordered to cross the Rapido River against a known German force of more than 3000 men. Only 23 U.S. soldiers came back, and of those, ten would later die. Yet before the war was over, that unit would win more medals for bravery than almost any other rifle company in all of American history.

The second calamity came in the early 1950’s, when some 200 Mexican-Americans, African-Americans and Filipino migrants went on strike in the harvest fields of South Texas. Though the movement was washed away by the winds of history, within the seeds of that defeat were the victories that came a generation later in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

It is in California that “America — The Promised Land” finally begins to live up to its billing as a new generation of Salazars at last succeed in fulfilling the dreams they had fought for so long to enrich their lives in soul-satisfying ways.


This is the eBook version of a 1995 historical novel that portrays the struggles of Mexican-Americans pursuing the dream of a better life. News media reviewers and readers have dubbed the novel the “Mexican Roots” and compared it to The Grapes of Wrath.

– You can read the preface for the book here.
– You can view the book trailer below.

About the Author

Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez was born in El Paso, Texas, the oldest son of an Irish father and a Mexican mother. After flunking out of college twice, he finally made good at Texas A&M before going on to SMU, where he earned a BA in English Literature. His Hollywood career reached its zenith in 1979 when he wrote, directed and co-produced the first major movie about the Mexican-American experience.