As the title suggests, the unifying idea of Gonzalez's book is that the United States is solely the cause of the great wave of Hispanic immigration because of its nearly two centuries of colonialism, imperialism, and economic exploitation. Thus, the focus of the chapters is upon explanation of this history, and in summarizing, the student can use Gonzalez's perspective as the directing point to the main ideas of each chapter.
As an example, Chapter 1, "Conquerors and Victims," presents the history of the arrival of the Europeans in the Western Hemisphere; the English and Spanish had the greatest impact. Gonzalez explains how Latin American and Anglo American cultures were formed in this part of the world. Then, Gonzalez describes the sophisticated cultures of the Aztec and Mayans that the Spanish discovered and described,
Some of our soldiers who had been in many parts of the world, in Constantinople, in Rome, and all over Italy, said they had never seen a market so well laid out, so large, so orderly, and so full of people.
Further, Gonzalez explains how the Spanish and the English began to desire to expand their empires. After Spain discovered so much wealth in the New World, Henry VII sent John Cabot, and English explorer to the Americas. Once there, the English also imparted their concepts of government and their domestic conflicts, thus leaving an "imprint" upon the New World.
So, in summarizing chapters, the student should consider answering these questions: When? What? How and Why? because doing so for each chapter will adequately cover the key ideas of that segment of the book.