This book sheds light on the life paths of young Salvadorans struggling to reach a better future. As immigration continues to be a contentious political debate in the United States, Dr. Winship opens a window to a different side of the story: the complex realities of migration, social and economic inequality, and violence that play into the challenges and dilemmas these younger generations encounter. We know surprisingly little about these challenges, and even less about the aspirations and efforts of young people to overcome them. Coming of Age in El Salvador offers an optimistic yet realistic perspective that is accessible and useful to a wide range of students and practitioners interested in El Salvador and the transnational lives of Salvadorans.
This book provides important hard data, but it also includes the narratives of thirteen young Salvadorans, who speak of their day-to-day life. They say that the young are forgetful, distracted, less and less engaged, that young people have nothing to say. And yet, in this book they tell us about their backgrounds, their fears and their experiences, and their stories are integrated into the book’s analysis.
While facilitating more than 500 serving and vision trips in El Salvador over the past twenty years, our organization has been searching for a book like this. Dr. Winship’s comparative analysis based on his unique experience in El Salvador provides an important window into the complex contemporary realities facing the youth, and therefore the future of El Salvador. In addition, the Geography and History chapters are the best of their kind that I have read on El Salvador. Coming of Age is a must-read for any North American seeking to understand and engage the Salvadoran culture.
I highly recommend people interested in El Salvador to read this book. It is a fresh and interesting perspective of what it means to live in El Salvador. Living in a country where many of the conversations about youth only relate to violence, Dr. Winship has been able to capture a collage of key stories that will give the reader a more holistic idea of our youth.
In Coming of Age in El Salvador, Jim Winship has given us a valuable study of the first post-civil war generation in El Salvador. It is a generation of young people coming into adulthood with big dreams, but also with big challenges to achieving those dreams in the realities of El Salvador in the 21st century. With 40% of the Salvadoran population under the age of 24, this book gives insights into the young people who are the future of their country — if they remain there.