Synopses & Reviews
In a Volume Hailed as "Masterful" (Washington Post) and "amazingly ambitious ... necessary reading" (New York Times Book Review), Enrique Krauze presents the definitive portrait of modern Mexico -- its religion, culture, politics, and more. In a country where the traditional concentration of power is in the caudillo or leader, Krauze's insights into the personalities of these figures become compelling insights into Mexico's history. The author begins with the late-nineteenth-century leaders like Porfirio Diaz, and moves through the Revolution and the agony of political unrest that continued through the 1940s. He then describes the development of the modern state and the contemporary period, from the presidencies of Camacho through Salinas. This paperback edition will include a postscript covering the presidency of Zedillo and the recent elections. Krauze believes a critical question for the future is whether the political system will continue to centralize power in the presidency, thus perpetuating Mexico's history as a biography of power.
"A stunning achievement". -- Daniel Bell
"A book worthy of Mexico's tumultuous history and vital to our understanding". -- Boston Globe
A "magisterial history" ("The Wall Street Journal"), this sweeping volume tells Mexico's story through the fascinating and sometimes volatile personalities that have shaped it. 47 illustrations. 4 maps.
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.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -854) and index.
About the Author
Enrique Krauze is the author of twenty books, including Mexico: Biography of Power. He has written for The New York Times, The New Republic, Dissent magazine, The Washington Post, and The New York Review of Books. Krauze lives in Mexico City.