The History of Mexico: (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations)

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9780313303517: The History of Mexico: (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations)
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This narrative history of Mexico through 1998 will help students and interested readers to understand the long, distinguished, and sometimes turbulent history of our neighbor to the south. Every American should be familiar with the history of Mexico, which in many ways parallels that of the United States. Surveying Mexico from the arrival of the first humans in the Western Hemisphere to current issues at the turn of the new century, this work dispels many of the stereotypes about Mexico, its history, and its people. The sweep of the narrative transports the reader from Mexico's great cultural past to current issues such as the war on drugs, participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the search for political stability as it enters the 21st century.

The first half of the book examines the arrival of the first peoples into the Western Hemisphere in what is now Mexico and their successful creation of political, social, and economic institutions. The destruction of these institutions by the conquering Spanish, the rise of the Spanish colonial system, and Mexico's attempts at self-rule in the 19th century complete the first half of the work. The second half recounts the emergence of the dictator Porfirio Diaz in 1876, the 1910 revolution, and the political, social, and economic development of modern Mexico through the end of 1998. Ready reference materials include a timeline of key events in Mexican history, biographical sketches of 24 noted Mexicans, and a bibliographical essay of recommended books for students.

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About the Author:

BURTON KIRKWOOD is Professor of History at the University of Evansville, in Evansville, Indiana.

From Publishers Weekly:

Dry, impersonal and filled with facts, the latest addition to the Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations series often reads like an over-long encyclopedia entry. Kirkwood, a professor of history at the University of Evansville, Indiana, divides the volume under subheadings like "Geography," "Population and Language," "Wage Labor" and "Colonial Economic Order." His most vivid chapters cover the Spanish conquest of the Aztec people and are rife with compelling details about that period s brutality. For example, he explains that Aztecs sacrificed humans to their gods because they believed that "shooting a victim with arrows so that his blood dripped on to the ground was a manner by which to revitalize the soil." Kirkwood occasionally presents his opinions as fact, as in his discussion of NAFTA and the "Americanization" of Mexico. He also provides very little detail about Mexico s thriving arts communities and its church life; Frida Kahlo, for example, is mentioned in a closing chapter on the "Notable People in the History of Mexico" but doesn t have a place in the main narrative. The volume does, however, give a comprehensive overview of the military and economic history of the U.S. s southern neighbor which makes it all the more unfortunate that Kirkwood decided to close his chronicle with Mexico s 1997 election. He leaves for other histories the dramatic events of the past seven years, including President Vicente Fox s overturning of the powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 2000.
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Kirkwood, J. Burton
Published by Greenwood (2000)
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