This study, based primarily on previously unavailable private records of sugarcane plantations, examines the external and internal dynamics of the sugar industry. It offers new insights into the process of land consolidation, the economics of sugar technology and production, the formation of the coastal elite, and the organization, recruitment, and control of labor. By focusing on the plantation Cayalti within a regional context, Gonzales presents one of the richest descriptions of the modern plantation for any region of Latin America. The book is a vivid social history of laborers from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, from Chinese to Peruvians of Indian, mestizo, and black heritage.
Michael J. Gonzales is Presidential Research Professor Emeritus of History at Northern Illinois University.
His interpretation balances accounts of agrarian insurgencies, shifting revolutionary alliances, counter-revolutions, and foreign interventions to delineate the triumphs and failures of revolutionary leaders such as Francisco I. Madero, Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Alvaro Obregón, and Venestiano Carranza. What emerges is a clear understanding of the tangled events of the period and a fuller appreciation of the efforts of revolutionary presidents after 1916 to reinvent Mexico amid the limitations imposed by a war-torn countryside, a hostile international environment, and the resistance of the Catholic Church and large land-owners.
For Deep Down Dark, the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Héctor Tobar received exclusive access to the miners and their tales. These thirty-three men came to think of the mine, a cavern inflicting constant and thundering aural torment, as a kind of coffin, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer. Even while still buried, they all agreed that if by some miracle any of them escaped alive, they would share their story only collectively. Héctor Tobar was the person they chose to hear, and now to tell, that story.
The result is a masterwork or narrative journalism—a riveting, at times shocking, emotionally textured account of a singular human event. A New York Times bestseller, Deep Down Dark brings to haunting, tactile life the experience of being imprisoned inside a mountain of stone, the horror of being slowly consumed by hunger, and the spiritual and mystical elements that surrounded working in such a dangerous place. In its stirring final chapters, it captures the profound way in which the lives of everyone involved in the disaster were forever changed.