Mexico: Biogaphy of Power

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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.
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Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Apr 9, 2013
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Pages
896
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ISBN
9780062285263
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Latin America / Mexico
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The only substantive study of Plutarco Elías Calles and the Mexican Revolution, this book traces the remarkable life story of a complex and little-understood, yet key figure in Mexico's history. Jürgen Buchenau draws on a rich array of archival evidence from Mexico, the United States, and Europe to explore Calles's origins and political trajectory. He hailed from Sonora, a border state marked by fundamental social and economic change at the turn of the twentieth century. After dabbling in various careers, Calles found the early years of the revolution (1910-1920) afforded him the chance to rise to local and ultimately national prominence. As president from 1924 to 1928, Calles embarked on an ambitious reform program, modernized the financial system, and defended national sovereignty against an interventionist U.S. government. Yet these reforms failed to eradicate underdevelopment, corruption, and social injustice. Moreover, his unyielding campaigns against the Catholic Church and his political enemies earned him a reputation as a repressive strongman.

After his term as president, Calles continued to exert broad influence as his country's foremost political figure while three weaker presidents succeeded each other in an atmosphere of constant political crisis. He played a significant role in founding a ruling party that reined in the destructive ambitions of leading army officers and promised to help campesinos and workers attain better living conditions. This dynastic party and its successors, including the present-day Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI, or Party of the Institutional Revolution), remained in power until 2000. Many of the institutions and laws forged during the Calles era survived into the present. Through this comprehensive assessment of a quintessential politician in an era dominated by generals, entrepreneurs, and educated professionals, Buchenau opens an illuminating window into the Mexican Revolution and contemporary Mexico.
The Oxford History of Mexico is a narrative history of the events, institutions and characters that have shaped Mexican history from the reign of the Aztecs through the twenty-first century. When the hardcover edition released in 2000, it was praised for both its breadth and depth--all aspects of Mexican history, from religion to technology, ethnicity, ecology and mass media, are analyzed with insight and clarity. Available for the first time in paperback, the History covers every era in the nation's history in chronological format, offering a quick, affordable reference source for students, scholars and anyone who has ever been interested in Mexico's rich cultural heritage. Scholars have contributed fascinating essays ranging from thematic ("Faith and Morals in Colonial Mexico," "Mass Media and Popular Culture in the Postrevolutionary Era") to centered around one pivotal moment or epoch in Mexican history ("Betterment for Whom? The Reform Period: 1855-1875"). Two such major events are the Mexican War of Independence (1810-1821) and the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), the subjects of several essays in the book. Publication of the reissued edition will coincide with anniversaries of these critical turning points. Essays are updated to reflect new discoveries, advances in scholarship, and occurences of the past decade. A revised glossary and index ensure that readers will have immediate access to any information they seek. William Beezley, co-editor of the original edition, has written a new preface that focuses on the past decade and covers such issues as immigration from Mexico to the United States and the democratization implied by the defeat of the official party in the 2000 and 2006 presidential elections. Beezley also explores the significance of the bicentennial of independence and centennial of the Revolution. With these updates and a completely modern, bold new design, the reissued edition refreshes the beloved Oxford History of Mexico for a new generation.
The Mexico Reader is a vivid introduction to muchos Méxicos—the many Mexicos, or the many varied histories and cultures that comprise contemporary Mexico. Unparalleled in scope and written for the traveler, student, and expert alike, the collection offers a comprehensive guide to the history and culture of Mexico—including its difficult, uneven modernization; the ways the country has been profoundly shaped not only by Mexicans but also by those outside its borders; and the extraordinary economic, political, and ideological power of the Roman Catholic Church. The book looks at what underlies the chronic instability, violence, and economic turmoil that have characterized periods of Mexico’s history while it also celebrates the country’s rich cultural heritage.

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.

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