The Virgin of the American Dream

The Virgin of the American Dream
Guadalupe on the Walls of Los Angeles

by Sam Quinones




Coming in November.


From The New York Times bestselling author of Dreamland and its follow-up The Least of Us, former Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones presents his first book of photojournalism.

In 2007, journalist Sam Quinones returned to California after living for ten years in Mexico and began taking snapshots of murals of the Virgin of Guadalupe—Mexico’s Dark Virgin and patron saint—on the walls of immigrant-owned mom-and-pop shops across Los Angeles.

From South Central to East L.A., Lincoln Park, Boyle Heights, and Highland Park, Quinones captured hundreds of murals of the Virgin painted on the walls of these shops by immigrant entrepreneurs seeking refuge from the hard life they faced in a new land.

With minimal police presence, desperate grocers, mechanics, taco vendors, and bakers turned to the Virgin as a blessing for their businesses and as protection from the graffiti from gangs, who revered the Sacred Mother and would not deface a wall that she graced.

On the streets of L.A., she became the Virgin of the American Dream, turning scarred walls into sanctuaries from the blight and protecting all that a defenseless people had come north to create.

Product Details

Format: Paperback
Genre: Art / Photography
Publication Date: 1 Nov 2023
ISBN: 978-1-946358-28-8
Catalogue No.: 39WP-30P
Pages: 110
Dimensions: 11.5 x 8 inches

About the Author

Sam Quinones SAM QUINONES is a journalist, storyteller, former Los Angeles Times reporter, and author of three acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction, including The New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic and its follow-up The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth. The Virgin of the American Dream is his first book of photojournalism.


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