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The Human Tradition in Mexico (The Human…
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The Human Tradition in Mexico (The Human Tradition around the World… (2003)

by Jeffrey M. Pilcher (Editor)

Other authors: Sarah A. Buck (Contributor), David Coffey (Contributor), Linda A. Curcio-Nagy (Contributor), William E. French (Contributor), Glen David Kuecker (Contributor)10 more, Patrick J. McNamara (Contributor), Enrique C. Ochoa (Contributor), José Orozco (Contributor), Susie S. Porter (Contributor), Karen Racine (Contributor), Eugenia Roldán Vera (Contributor), Anne Rubenstein (Contributor), Pedro Santoni (Contributor), Andrew G. Wood (Contributor), Eric Zolov (Contributor)

Series: The Human Tradition (Around the World 6)

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This book is part of the Scholarly Resources Human Tradition series, which in their own words seeks to provide “minibiographies of ‘real people’ who, with their idiosyncratic behavior, personalize the collective experience of grand themes, national myths, ethnic stereotypes, and gender relationships.” This volume covers the history of Mexico from colonial times to the present. Pilcher, the book editor, provides a narrative framework through a general introduction, sections summaries for the periods of Mexican history into which the book is organized, and introductions to each chapter which link the chapter subject to a landmark on the Mexico, D.F. subway system. This last gimmick is sometimes poignant and sometimes irrelevant.
As usual for edited volumes the success or failure is dependent on the individual contributions. In this case the result is mixed. Some of the contributing authors get into the true spirit of the series and do real miniature biographies of their subjects. Other authors submit more typical historical essays with the supposed biographical subject as simply one example among many. Women are very well represented, but we hear far less from the great mass of indigenous and mestizo peasants and workers who make up the Mexican population. This is perhaps natural in that biographies of the lower sort are difficult to assemble.
I was most interest in the selections from the colonial and early republican period as well as the those on the quixotic hopes of Alejando Prieto, a científico of the Porfiriato , on Rosa Torre González, a feminist of the revolutionary era and on Moises de la Peña, an idealistic economist who began under the liberal Cárdenas but quit in frustration as the PRI turned increasingly conservative. Most disappointing was the section on modern Mexico. The introduction made mention of NAFTA, the bracero program, union activism, student organizing and the massacre of Tlatelolco and the dissolution of the PRI’s national dominance. However, the four biographies are of a movie star, a chef, a rock musician and a tequila taster. Having read Judith Hellerman’s Mexican Lives I know they could have done better.
Specialists will find little of use here. For teachers, some of the chapters may provide useful texture to a class on Mexican history, but I doubt that many will assign the book in its entirety. ( )
  eromsted | Oct 22, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pilcher, Jeffrey M.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buck, Sarah A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coffey, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curcio-Nagy, Linda A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
French, William E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kuecker, Glen DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McNamara, Patrick J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ochoa, Enrique C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orozco, JoséContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Porter, Susie S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Racine, KarenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roldán Vera, EugeniaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rubenstein, AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Santoni, PedroContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wood, Andrew G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zolov, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0842029761, Paperback)

The Human Tradition in Mexico is a book of real-life stories of Mexicans throughout more than 250 years of the country's history. This text does not focus on presidents, generals, and other well-known figures, but rather on the ordinary individuals who faced challenges common to all Mexicans of their generation. Editor Jeffrey M. Pilcher uses these vignettes to explore three significant themes: nationalism and globalization, modernization and its effects on ordinary people, and the struggle for the self. Exploring these pivotal topics, this book personalizes abstract, and sometimes baffling, generalizations on social history by providing fascinating and accessible mini-biographies that will appeal to undergraduate students.

In The Human Tradition in Mexico, readers will explore the story of a Mexican Romeo and Juliet, gain insight into the Mexican version of Woodstock, learn to make a fine, aged tequila, and meet the "apostle of the enchilada." These essays, written by a talented group of specialists, will show how each individual contributed to the forging of the Mexican identity as the country went from a struggling new nation to a modern republic trying to find its place in an increasingly globalized culture.

This book will enlighten and entertain readers with its colorful and engaging narratives of Mexicans throughout the country's rich past.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:48 -0400)

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