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During the Great Depression, the U.S. government illegally deported more than a million Mexican-American citizens to make room on the welfare rolls and alleviate unemployment for white Americans. Many of these poor souls never made it back home.

Carlos Moreno is a young man who only has known hardship and poverty, chasing rumors of work throughout Texas in the 1920s. Yet he remains a romantic at heart and hopeful of a better life. Pursued by a renegade Texas Ranger who thinks he holds the key to a secret, Carlos takes refuge in “Little Mexico,” Houston’s colorful, boisterous barrio. He picks the worst possible time to fall in love. As the U.S. launches its repatriation campaign, the ranger joins forces with Immigration agents to step up his personal manhunt. Now Carlos and his wife will have to rely on courage and ingenuity to avoid the dragnet that will ensnare an entire population.

Praise for the book:

Through the classic lens of a young man struggling to find his place—his home– in a new land, George Weinstein deftly brings a fascinating bit of lost history to life. Tense, tender, and ultimately hopeful, Weinstein offers a vivid picture of the Great Depression from an entirely fresh angle, wrapped in a beautiful love story that will touch your heart.”
– Joshilyn Jackson, NYT bestselling novelist


Read More Reviews

“George Weinstein’s The Five Destinies of Carlos Moreno is the gripping story of illegal deportation of Mexican-Americans from Texas during the era of the Great Depression. Told through memorable characters splendidly created by a skilled and gifted writer, it achieves what important literature ought to achieve – a sense of awe from the discovery of a grand experience. Few books shadow me after the reading; this one does.”
– Terry Kay, author of To Dance with the White Dog and The Book of Marie

“Though George Weinstein’s
The Five Destinies of Carlos Moreno is set during the Great Depression, its concern for what happens to those living in the margins is just as urgent today. A love story wrapped inside a classic game of cat-and-mouse, this book is both a pleasurable and a highly relevant read.”
– Susan Rebecca White, author of A Place at the Table, A Soft Place to Land, and Bound South

“Echoing themes from Les Misérables and The Grapes of Wrath of discrimination and injustice, Weinstein tells the story of a young Mexican challenging bigotry, restricted opportunity, and the threat of deportation during the early years of the Great Depression. Carlos Moreno finds his destiny in a tale that will keep readers up late at night, reluctant to wait until the next day to read what happens next in the life of this remarkable young man.”
– Abraham Hoffman, author of Unwanted Mexican Americans in the Great Depression: Repatriation Pressures, 1929-1939

“Weinstein’s second novel establishes him even more firmly as a remarkable and gifted writer, with a sure eye for historical detail, a powerful, authentic voice, and a compassion for the marginalized and dispossessed that is compelling without ever condescending.”
– Man Martin, author of Paradise Dogs and Days of the Endless Corvette

“Like a love ballad, this story resonates on sweet and tender chords; yet there are disharmonic relationships, melodic, but bitter journeys, and collective intonations, all which crescendo in the multiple possible lives of one hero dancing along to the damned and lovely music. Weinstein has written an unforgettable story.”
– Doug Crandell, author of The Flawless Skin of Ugly People and They’re Calling You Home

With The Five Destinies of Carlos Moreno, author George Weinstein has accomplished two tasks. The first is obvious-Destinies is one helluva read. Of greater relevance, however, Weinstein has given not only a voice to the everyday Hispanic “illegal” in the U.S.-whether it be in the book’s 1920’s Great Depression setting or amid today’s political insanity-but he’s also presented this noble race of “hard-working wanderers” with a heart and soul, not to mention love and compassion. A must read for anyone who desires to look behind today’s headlines.
– Jedwin Smith, author of Our Brother’s Keeper, Fatal Treasure, and Let’s Get It On


Special Offer for Book Clubs

Order personalized, autographed copies for your book clubs for $15 apiece! Use the form on the Contact page to tell me how many copies you need, the names of the recipients for personalizing, and when you want me to talk to your group. I’ll visit personally if you meet anywhere in North Georgia, or I’ll call or Skype to connect with you anywhere else in the world, to discuss the novel and the “story behind the story.”

Book Club Questions

1.What were the historical underpinnings of the novel?

2.What does the title refer to?

3.Describe Carlos’ relationship with each of his parents.

4.Why does Pedro Rodríguez view himself so unfavorably, and what is your opinion of him?

5.What were Texas Ranger Jack Diego/Donati’s redeeming characteristics, if any?

6.What were Daniela Domenica’s flaws and areas for growth?

7.Discuss the parallels between the novel and both Les Misérables and The Grapes of Wrath.

8.If Carlos had not given in to Paz initially, he would have been unlikely to ever meet Daniela. Has surviving your own Tower(s) led to a happier life situation, and would you have been likely to get there without enduring that/those trial(s)?

9.How does music influence Carlos?

10.How does religion and faith influence Carlos?

11.Carlos is plagued by a veritable Rogue’s Gallery of villains. Besides Paz and the ranger, who causes Carlos grief?

12.Discuss María’s role in the novel and the qualities about her that endure in your recollection.

13.Discuss the concept of fate in the novel and María’s attitude about a fixed future.

14.What characteristics of el Día de los Muertos were memorable?

15.How could a country that prides itself on law and order rationalize the deportation of its citizens?

Extras/Additional Reading

Francisco Balderrama and Raymond Rodríguez, Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995; revised edition, 2006).  Listen to this interview by Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Francisco Balderrama: click here

Abraham Hoffman, Unwanted Mexican Americans in the Great Depression: Repatriation Pressures, 1929-1939 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1974)

Arnoldo de León, Ethnicity in the Sunbelt: Mexican Americans in Houston (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2001)

Día de los Muertos – Day of the Dead

Tarot History and Interpretations