On its surface, the documentary novel “All They Will Call You” is a story about “the worst airplane disaster in California’s history,” which claimed the lives of 32 passengers, including 28 Mexican citizens who were being deported by the U.S. government, the book’s jacket states.

Tim Z. Hernandez

But the book by Tim Z. Hernandez is much more than a story about a plane crash. It gives the 28 Mexican citizens, identified in the cemetery catalog as Mexican nationals 1 to 28, a name, a life and a purpose, according to testimonials about the novel.

The book by the University of Texas at El Paso professor is the next selection for El Paso Matters’ book club. Click here to join El Paso Matters’ bimonthly book club, a community of more than 800 readers who love El Paso.

First published in 2017 by the University of Arizona Press, “All They Will Call You” aims to identify and bring to life the 28 migrant farmworkers whose unidentified remains were buried in an unmarked mass grave near Fresno, California.

Hernandez combines testimony from families, historical records and eyewitness accounts to reconstruct the incident, which was immortalized in a song by Woody Guthrie, “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee).”

“A stunning piece of investigative journalism and a lyrical meditation on memory, meaning, and the immigrant experience.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Tim Z. Hernandez is an associate professor at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Bilingual M.F.A. in Creative Writing program. His latest book is a collection of poetry titled, “Some of the Light: New & Selected Poems.”

Reading Schedule

  • Aug. 2-8: pgs. 1-32
  • Aug. 9-15: pgs. 33-60
  • Aug. 16-22: pgs. 61-91
  • Aug. 23-29: pgs. 92-122
  • Aug. 30 – Sept. 5: pgs.123-152
  • Sept. 6-12: pgs.152-182 
  • Sept. 13-19: pgs.183-END
  • Sept. 20: In-person discussion (tentative date)

How to get the book