_Bootstraps_ is an unusual book: at one level it is autobiographical, detailing the life of an American of Puerto Rican extraction from his childhood in New York City to an academic post at a university. At another level, Villanueva ponders his experiences in light of the history of rhetoric, the English Only movement, current socio- and psycholinguistic theory, and the writings of Gramsci and Freire, among others.

Winner of the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English.