Soda Springs Synopsis
The story in a nut shell

Soda Springs: the cover

Soda Springs synopsis: a mythical farm town: acres of verdant fields . . . spectacular mountains . . . and a poverty-stricken barrio struggling against a history of racism.

Soda Springs, the novel: think of civil rights in the '60s. Courage. Determination. Love. Hatred. Violence. Only in Chicago? NY? Selma? And only for Blacks? Not on your life.

Enter the world of Rick Sanders, a college man committed to Martin Luther King's 1963 Birmingham campaign. Crisis jerks him back to Soda Springs to save the family farm.

Rick confronts a town mired in hatred and at war with itself. He plunges full-speed into a world of prejudice . . . discrimination . . . bare-knuckle politics . . . protest . . . and violence. Along the way, he finds a sexy soul mate, but also shattered dreams, rejection, and finally, love.

Soda Springs: Love, Sex, and Civil Rights tells a rollicking coming of age tale that weaves love, sex, and MLK's campaign into the previously untold story of the Mexican-American battle for civil rights. It confronts those topics your mother told you to steer clear of in polite company: sex . . . religion . . . politics . . . racial conflict.

Soda Springs confronts universal issues and has relevance for people like you -- and for universal audiences...

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An excerpt from Soda Springs

Soda Springs in '63:
Flor views the barrio

They drove the dirt streets east of Main, four blocks by six, abutting the railroad tracks. The houses were crumbling adobe or flaking clapboard, tiny as summer cabins. Waist-high weeds overran empty lots and dirt front yards. Broken glass and rusted car bodies littered the place.

Flor recalled one squat whitewashed home trimmed in turquoise, its miniature lawn as manicured as a golf green. Roses and hollyhocks splashed its white picket fence with yellows and reds. This lone cheery home accentuated the fact that Mexican Soda Springs was a shabby slum.

Bobby’s parishioners called the Mexican enclave Beanville, or simply “over there.” No whites lived there. Only those with a pressing reason dared enter: police chief Zeigler, Doc Milard, volunteer firemen, an occasional road crew.

Flor had analyzed the 1960 Census: 932 Mexicans, fifty-eight percent of the town’s population, crowded like Third World refugees into twenty percent of the town’s land.

On the United Methodist side of Main, 675 whites lived in thirty blocks of bungalows and brick Queen Anne and Victorian homes with trees, shrubs, flowers, and grassy lawns, girded by sidewalks and paved streets.

No Mexicans lived west of Main.

-- Soda Springs, Chapter 6

Meet Flor Hardwick in person