A diverse collection of more than eighty selections, The Mexico Reader brings together poetry, folklore, fiction, polemics, photoessays, songs, political cartoons, memoirs, satire, and scholarly writing. Many pieces are by Mexicans, and a substantial number appear for the first time in English. Works by Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes are included along with pieces about such well-known figures as the larger-than-life revolutionary leaders Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata; there is also a comminiqué from a more recent rebel, Subcomandante Marcos. At the same time, the book highlights the perspectives of many others—indigenous peoples, women, politicians, patriots, artists, soldiers, rebels, priests, workers, peasants, foreign diplomats, and travelers.
The Mexico Reader explores what it means to be Mexican, tracing the history of Mexico from pre-Columbian times through the country’s epic revolution (1910–17) to the present day. The materials relating to the latter half of the twentieth century focus on the contradictions and costs of postrevolutionary modernization, the rise of civil society, and the dynamic cross-cultural zone marked by the two thousand-mile Mexico-U.S. border. The editors have divided the book into several sections organized roughly in chronological order and have provided brief historical contexts for each section. They have also furnished a lengthy list of resources about Mexico, including websites and suggestions for further reading.
In the first struggle, a force organized by the Mexican army launched a prolonged campaign against the supply lines connecting the port of Veracruz to US forces advancing upon Mexico City. In spite of US efforts to destroy the partisans’ base of support, these armed Mexicans remained a significant threat as late as January 1848.
Concurrently, rebellions of class and race erupted among Mexicans, an offshoot of the older struggle between a predominantly criollo elite that claimed European parentage and the indigenous population excluded from participation in the nation’s political and economic life.
Many of Mexico’s powerful, propertied citizens were more afraid of their fellow Mexicans than of the invaders from the north. By challenging their rulers, guerrillas forced Mexico’s government to abandon further resistance to the United States, changing the course of the war and Mexican history.
From the Republic of the Rio Grande brings new insights and information to the study of transnational cultures by drawing from family papers supplemented by other original sources, local chronicles, and scholarly works. De la Garza has fashioned a history of this area from the perspective of individuals involved in the events recounted. The book is composed of nine sections spanning some two hundred years, beginning in the mid-1700s. Each section covers not only a chronological period but also a particular theme relating to the history of the region. De la Garza takes a personal approach, opening most sections with an individual observation or experience that leads to the central motif, whether this is the shared identity of the inhabitants, their pride in their biculturalism and bilingualism, or their deep attachment to the land of their ancestors.