Xuxub Must Die: The Lost Histories Of A Murder On The Yucatan (Pitt Latin American Studies)

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9780822942306: Xuxub Must Die: The Lost Histories Of A Murder On The Yucatan (Pitt Latin American Studies)

Today, foreigners travel to the Yucatan for ruins, temples, and pyramids, white sand beaches and clear blue water. One hundred years ago, they went for cheap labor, an abundance of land, and the opportunity to make a fortune exporting cattle, henequen fiber, sugarcane, or rum. Sometimes they found death. In 1875 an American plantation manager named Robert Stephens and a number of his workers were murdered by a band of Maya rebels. To this day, no one knows why. Was it the result of feuding between aristocratic families for greater power and wealth? Was it the foreseeable consequence of years of oppression and abuse of Maya plantation workers? Was a rebel leader seeking money and fame - or perhaps retribution for the loss of the woman he loved? For whites, the events that took place at Xuxub, Stephens's plantation, are virtually unknown, even though they engendered a diplomatic and legal dispute that vexed Mexican-U.S. relations for over six decades. The construction of "official" histories allowed the very name of Xuxub to die, much as the plantation itself was subsumed by the jungle. For the Maya, however, what happened at Xuxub is more than a story they pass down through generations.

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From the Back Cover:

"A gripping story, one that lingers, one that raises questions, one that will be remembered. A terrific book."-Richard Price, author of The Convict and the Colonel and The Root of Roots

"Melding a novelist's gift for the narrative, an anthropologist's ear for indigenous voices, and a historian's feel for contingency and context, Sullivan adroitly reconstructs the murder of an American administrator of a sugarmill in Yucatan's tropical forest. Xuxub Must Die is a compelling interrogation of a rough and tumble time and place where Maya, Mexican, North American, and British meted out brutality and justice on their own terms."-Allen Wells, author of Yucatan's Gilded Age

"Few scholars understand the Yucatec Maya and their multifaceted relations with outsiders as exquisitely as Paul Sullivan. . . . An extraordinary achievement."-Gilbert M. Joseph, author of Rediscovering the Past at Mexico's Periphery: Essays on the History of Modern Yucatan

About the Author:

Paul Sullivan, author of Unfinished Conversations: Mayas and Foreigners between Two Wars, lives in north-central Massachusetts.

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