The Search for a Civic Voice is the story of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. It is a story of firsts. The first appointees to state boards and commissions, the first judges, the first city council members and state legislators. It is also the story of outlawing school segregation, obtaining old age pensions for non-citizens and organizing farm workers.
Burt successfully argues "Latino electoral success occurred much earlier than is commonly understood and was achieved by mobilizing voters and developing coalitions." His historical overview of Latino politics prompted Cal State LA Professor of History and Chicano Studies Francisco Balderrama to praise his book, stating, "The crowning achievement of his thorough and meticulous research is the description and interpretation of 1940s and 1950s East LA, the birthplace of the Latino voice for Los Angeles and California."