Proud American

The Migrant, Soldier, and Agent

Non-Fiction - Memoir
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 02/22/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sergio A. Tinoco was born and raised in Rio Grande Valley, commonly known to them as RGV. As a child, he had gone through many struggles. Having to come up with a big decision to leave his family behind at such a young age, Sergio began to live a dangerous life in the battlefield with the US Army. Between the Army and the DHS, he has worked in government service for over twenty years. He earned a master’s degree in organizational management. His wife, also a military veteran, works for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Together, they strive to provide greater opportunities and aspirations to their kids.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

Proud American: The Migrant, Soldier, and Agent is the memoir of author Sergio Tinoco. He was the only child of a single mother and was raised by his grandparents in South Texas. The area he grew up in is commonly called the Rio Grande Valley. Sergio grew up a poor migrant worker, who started earning a living by picking crops at the age of seven. Sadly, his family also had to make use of the public systems in place to help poor Americans, welfare as most call it. Sergio suffered all the judgment and stigma that goes along with that. Sergio didn't want his entire life to be that way, he wanted to break the cycle, so he joined the United States Army. Life would lead him further down a trail, a trail that would not always be the easy road to travel.

I really enjoy memoirs and decided at the start of this year I wanted to try to read at least one every three months. It is easy to grab the latest celebrity memoir, but I find that I enjoy memoirs from the everyday regular “Joe” more. So I was very excited to be given the opportunity to read this memoir by Sergio Tinoco, not only because it's a memoir, but it really seems to be so relevant right now in the times in which we are living. I found this to be a beautiful, well written memoir that took me on the journey of a man's life. I felt like I was walking right next to Sergio as he experienced his life. Not only is the author brave, kind, willing to sacrifice, but he has a talented way with words. There are not many memoirs that make me feel as if I am just sitting in a coffee shop and talking with the writer. I can't imagine how it feels to have people make threats against his family, and having those same decent people essentially hating him because of his job at border patrol.

This book is riveting and engaging from the first page to the last. I enjoyed every moment and honestly was sad when it was over. We need more people like the author in the world, and most of all in the country. Despite not always being treated fairly or well, he raised himself up, bettered himself, and served. Ten years of service and PTSD were not enough to keep Sergio away from serving this country more. I have never personally seen what can happen with border patrol agents, but from my understanding it is a pretty thankless job, especially for a man like Sergio who has Mexican heritage. There isn't really much else I can say about this fantastic memoir; it is truly engaging and I think everyone in this country needs to read it. To hear a voice that has literally been there, on the front lines for many years. Reading this book truly will open your eyes and the fact that the writing style is conversational and well done is just icing on top of an already great cake.

Ray Simmons

In my own humble opinion, there are only two questions you have to ask in order to know whether or not a memoir is good. Did the person live an interesting life? And can the person write? If you get a yes for those two questions, the book is a winner. I’m not talking about sales, that’s a whole different ball game. I’m talking about having a book that no one will ever regret picking up to read. A book anyone would be proud to recommend to their closest friends. I’m talking about a book your children and their children can pass down for generations to come. Proud American: The Migrant, Soldier, and Agent by Sergio A. Tinoco tells the story of a proud American and a very interesting life. And despite amusing anecdotes about his struggle to learn English as a child, make no mistake about it, Sergio A. Tinoco can write. He writes very well indeed.

I almost couldn't help but like Proud American. The life it describes so vividly and descriptively in many ways mirrors my own. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of differences. But still, we both grew up as minorities in America. We both used the Army to break away from a cycle of life we felt was going nowhere. But the similarity I enjoyed reading about most was the fact that his family disapproved of him joining the Army. Mine were adamantly against it too. Proud American is very well written and the life he writes about, at least the Army segment, is familiar to me and brought back so many memories. We served in different arenas at different times, but Army life transcends that and Sergio Tinoco captured that universal quality well.

Arya Fomonyuy

Proud American by Sergio Tinoco is a fascinating, heartwarming memoir of a migrant soldier and federal agent. The only child of a single mom, Sergio grew up with his grandparents in Rio Grande Valley. At the age of seven, he does the kind of work reserved for poor migrants — picking crops. The reader follows as his grandfather urges him to study English and take an interest in school. Sergio would break an old tradition — that of migrants doing work in the fields — when he joins the US Military and gets sent to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The experience of the genocide is one that will have very devastating effects on his life. The reader follows this hero as he returns to join the patrol at the border.

A well-told tale, Proud American is one of those stories that succinctly captures what it takes to succeed as a migrant in the United States. Many immigrant workers will connect with the protagonist, understand his inner struggles and the challenges he faces. The author deals with powerful themes in a masterful manner — family, childhood, the dignity of work, the effects of war, loyalty, patriotism, and justice — and the conflict that creates the dynamics of this tale revolves around these themes. The narrative voice is compelling and the perspective of the protagonist comes across clearly in the writing. Sergio Tinoco didn’t only learn to speak English; he learned to write it excellently. Proud American is a memoir that showcases the challenges of successfully being a migrant in the US. It is entertaining and engaging.