Mexico: Biography of Power - A History of Modern Mexico, 1810-1996

Mexico: Biography of Power - A History of Modern Mexico, 1810-1996

4.8 5
by Enrique Krauze
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0060929170

ISBN-13: 9780060929176

Pub. Date: 06/28/1998

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

The concentration of power in the caudillo (leader) is as much a formative element of Mexican culture and politics as the historical legacy of the Aztec emperors, Cortez, the Spanish Crown, the Mother Church and the mixing of the Spanish and Indian population into a mestizo culture. Krauze shows how history becomes biography during the century of caudillos from the

Overview

The concentration of power in the caudillo (leader) is as much a formative element of Mexican culture and politics as the historical legacy of the Aztec emperors, Cortez, the Spanish Crown, the Mother Church and the mixing of the Spanish and Indian population into a mestizo culture. Krauze shows how history becomes biography during the century of caudillos from the insurgent priests in 1810 to Porfirio and the Revolution in 1910. The Revolutionary era, ending in 1940, was dominated by the lives of seven presidents -- Madero, Zapata, Villa, Carranza, Obregon, Calles and Cardenas. Since 1940, the dominant power of the presidency has continued through years of boom and bust and crisis. A major question for the modern state, with today's president Zedillo, is whether that power can be decentralized, to end the cycles of history as biographies of power.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060929176
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/28/1998
Series:
Harper Perennial
Pages:
896
Sales rank:
152,565
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.43(d)

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Mexico: Biography of Power - A History of Modern Mexico, 1810-1996 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Certainly a replete look at Mexico's history and an engaging read. Krauze uses facts and sometimes very obscure statistics to spice up his biography of power. His portraits of the various leaders are always fascinating and rarely do you come across boring passages (though the parts on the Mexican labour movement and the union struggles are sometimes hard to follow). His chapter on Aleman and the solidification of PRI control is essential reading as far as I'm concerned. One point I had trouble accepting in this book is that racism is no longer a major factor in Mexico, as it is say in other Latin American countries. Krauze argues that because the Spaniards mixed with the Indians early on in the Conquest, the process of 'mestizaje' became part of Mexico's cultural ethos. The proof, he says, is that the majority of Mexico's citizens are mestizos. This is definitely true; mestizos are the majority. But in areas that have been traditionally Indian, like in the south, racial conflicts continue today as they did three hundred years ago. Indians are still treated with contempt in many parts of Mexico, especially in the capital, and Mexico City's poorest neighborhoods are mostly populated with campesinos (Indian peasants) who have recently arrived to the big city in hopes of finding work. The ruling class, though not entirely white, is typically made up of creoles and people of European decent. The 'frecas,' for instance, the spoiled rich kids of the upper-middle class, have their own bars, their own schools and their own colonias. The frecas may not always be 100 percent white, but then they spend a great deal of money making themselves look white (with plastic surgery, colored eye contacts and hair dyes). In other words, being white -- or at least looking white -- is still important to Mexicans, even though the first Indian president took office about 140 years ago. This may not be entirely connected to the Spanish colonial legacy and may in fact reflect American influences, but nonetheless you'd be hard pressed finding a white cleaning lady in Mexico. Those jobs still go to the Indian people. Otherwise the book is flawless.
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powerthin.com More than 1 year ago
I didn't read this book myself. I bought it for my Dad who is researching our family tree. Many of our relatives migrated to Mexico and grew from there. I gave this book to my Dad and he couldn't put it down! He's told me at least 3 different times that it is by far the best book he's ever read on Mexico. He highly recommends it!