Herencia (meaning "inheritance" or "heritage") is the first anthology to bring together literature from the entire history of Hispanic writing in the United States, from the age of exploration to the present. The product of a ten-year project involving hundreds of scholars nationwide, Herencia is the most comprehensive literary collection available, spanning over three centuries and including writers from all the major Hispanic ethnic communities, and writing from diverse genres. Here is the voice of the conqueror and the conquered, the revolutionary and the reactionary, the native and the uprooted or landless. Of course, readers will find pieces by such leading writers as Piri Thomas, Luis Valdez, Isabel Allende, Oscar Hijuelos, and Reinaldo Arenas. But what really distinguishes this anthology is its historical depth and its rich, complex portrait of Hispanic literature in the United States.
Beginning with Cabeza de Vaca's account of his explorations in the New World, the anthology includes a passage from La Florida, a narrative historical poem of 22,000 verses, written by Franciscan friar Alonso de Escobedo; an attack on Mexican stereotypes in the nascent movie industry, written by Nicasio Idar, editor of Laredo's La Cronica; and an essay about Coney Island written by revolutionary Jose Marti. Embracing Chicano, Nuyorican, Cuban American, and Latino writings, the voices of immigrants and the voices of exiles, Herencia makes a vital contribution to our understanding not only of Hispanic writing in the United States, but also of the great contribution Hispanics have made to the United States.