Book review of Shapira's Waiting for Jose: The Minutemen’s pursuit of America

Leah N. Diaz


Harel Shapira's Waiting for Jose explores beyond the superficial depictions of the Minutemen and attempts to understand their motivations for patrolling the border. Shapira argues that the Minutemen, as an organization, is an outlet for generally older men with military experience to reproduce their lives as soldiers and, subsequently, gain a sense of purpose and meaning. Additionally, he asserts that the Minutemen construct Jose as the enemy in order to exhibit their patriotism and develop an identity founded on masculinity. Overall, Shapira explores the Minutemen’s varied motivations exceptionally well, even noting the organization’s internal conflicts. His sociological explanations are relevant and help to interpret the Minutemen’s culture. Albeit at times adamant at reducing the Minutemen’s motivations to causes other than xenophobia, ethnocentrism, racism, and discrimination, Waiting for Jose provides a unique vantage point of individuals experiencing a loss of place in an ever-increasing diverse America.

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Shapira, H. (2013). Waiting for Jose: The Minutemen’s pursuit of America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1-152. ISBN: 978-0-691-15215-8.