"Soto is a clever and convincing reader of modernist prose and makes a fair case for the value of the generational model. [His book] beats notions of 'ages' or 'epochs', because it is organic and bridges individual and collective historiography, while also allowing for the non-contemporaneity of the contemporaneous, the coexistence of multiple generations in time and space."
—Modern Language Review
"[The Modernist Nation’s] historical span is impressive, ranging from Ralph Waldo Emerson to James Baldwin. . . . One of Soto's contributions is to continue the work of thinking about race in conjunction with American nationality. . . . Soto takes 'seriously the assertion that American writers imagine their craft as a kind of childbirth, a figure of speech long connected to artist creation. Such an idea leads him to consider writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and William Carlos Williams in whose work he finds frequent analogies between writing and procreation."
— Donna M. Campbell, American Literary Scholarship
"Modernist Nation constructs a history of modernist literary movements and their labels as a way of detailing the improvisational qualities of American identity. . . . Soto's. . . .work is an important contribution to American literary studies because [it illustrates] how racial and ethnic experiences make claims on the shape of our cultural traditions and critical practices. . . . Soto's evaluations are valuable because he sees the traps of essentialist thought in movement labels.”
—Walton Muyumba, electronic book review