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About the Book

Looking for Esperanza: One Woman’s Search for Hope in the Other America is the story of a journey.

Working cover design by Trina Brunk

In January 2010, Tracy L. Barnett left a 25-year career as an award-winning newspaper journalist for a yearlong dive into America’s vast blind spot. A search for hope in these hopeless, cynical times was what was called for, she thought. In Spanish – as is often the case in Spanish – it sounded more poetic, and at the same time, more concrete. So in the ferment that arose from the end of her career as a newspaper journalist, the idea for The Esperanza Project was conceived. In the following year, she would weave together the threads of her previous work and three of her greatest passions: travel, Latin America, and the natural environment. She would travel through the Americas, beginning in Mexico and working her way down, in search of people who are, in a multitude of ways, seeking to heal their lands and, each in their own way, our broken planet.

What she found shed light on the roots of the multiple crises we now face, and it was as heartbreaking as it was inspiring.  From Mexico to Argentina, she sought them out: permaculturists, indigenous people, ex-guerrillas and business people with an environmental ethic — people working to find and provide sustainable and meaningful livelihoods in their homelands. She found bicycle activists, organic farmers, medicine people and entrepreneurs; chefs and shamans, truck drivers and taxi drivers, government officials and religious leaders. All of them confirmed her belief in the desire for – and in many cases, the commitment to – a more regenerative, life-affirming culture. Many, too, confirmed the impossibility of a dignified livelihood for many of the region’s millions under the present circumstances, and revealed some of the tragic reasons why.

The writer’s search for hope in a broken world is reflected in her own inner journey as she moves through an extraordinary landscape. As the world changes, so does the traveler.

On one level, it’s a journey through geographic space, as a woman leaves a three-decade career in newspaper journalism, straps on a backpack and strikes out on into the unknown, forging a path through ten Latin American countries. She takes her storytelling skills with her, offering a window into the strange and wonderful, the shocking and the inspiring things and people that she meets along the way.

On another level, it’s a journey through time. It’s taken seven years to compile the hundreds of hours of interviews conducted along the way, to translate them, analyze them and glean the best of them. During those years, much has changed — both in the countries and the lives of the people she visited, and in her own life. She uses the book as an opportunity to drill down and discover deeper realities — universal realities that have to do with social and personal change, humanity, and the nature of hope in a wounded world.


Looking for Esperanza is currently in search of the right agent to represent it and/or the right publishing house to publish it. If you are interested, please contact the author to see a query letter, a book proposal and/or a completed manuscript. 

Other books by Tracy L. Barnett

Immigration from South America
Mason Crest Publishing, 2005
“Every year a steady influx of immigrants arrives in both the United States and Canada from the disparate nations of South America. Barnett outlines the history of this immigration and some of its major consequences. In telling this story, the author touches upon issues such as prejudice, language demands, cultural barriers, and the economic want some immigrants experience. This tale of migration is an excellent stand-alone resource. It is part of the illustrated series entitled “The Changing Face of North America.” — Greg M. Romaneck

Oman: Modern Middle East Nations series
Mason Crest Publishing, 2005
Oman: The name conjures images of windswept sand dunes, veiled women and ruthless pirates and nomadic Bedouins. It’s the home of Sinbad the Sailor and the Tales of the Arabian Nights, the legendary land of the frankincense that was delivered to the infant Jesus. Under its sands lies the lost city of Ubar, which has been compared to Atlantis in its majesty and mystery. But what do we really know of Oman? The country’s near-complete isolation until 1970 allowed it to develop a distinct and culture and at the same time, conserve its unique natural beauty in a way that is unmatched.

The Buffalo Soldiers
Mason Crest Publishing, 2003
The Buffalo Soldiers helped to shape the West and protected the white settlers in Indian territory. These black soldiers fought with honor, dignity and skill, even while their own government treated them as second-class citizens. This book traces their history from the formation of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalries at the end of the Civil War to their role in Cuba during the Spanish Civil War, clearing the way for Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. This often-forgotten chapter in U.S. history highlights the tragic ways in which the freed slaves were used to perpetuate a genocide on the native peoples of these lands.

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    1. Thanks so much for the words of encouragement, John! I’ve been tied up with other projects and have not yet been able to find the right publisher. Hoping to circle back to this soon.