This collection of Moraga’s first three successful plays established her as a leading Chicana playwright. West End Press first published Giving Up the Ghost in 1987. The revised version was printed in 1994 as part of this collection. Shadow of a Man was first performed in 1990 and Heroes and Saints in 1992. Ted Fishman of Chicago News and Arts Weekly called Shadow of a Man “the best kind of political work, performed with skill and sensitivity.”
Heroes and Saints has won particular critical acclaim due to its intervention in the history of the Chicano people. It grows out of the struggle of the United Farm Workers in 1988 and the revelations of a so-called cancer cluster in McFarland, California in which many Chicano children were diagnosed with cancer or stricken with birth defects. The play also draws from the Luis Valdez drama The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa in which the head speaks and is the principle actor in the drama. Moraga underlines her debt to the public arena by dedicating the play to Cesar Chavez, the UFW leader.