In the 1930s B. Traven wrote an epic of the birth of the Mexican revolution in what have become known as the "Jungle Novels." Government is the first of the six novels that comprise the series. Depicting the political corruption that infected even the smallest villages in Mexico, the novel tells the story of Don Gabriel, a minor government functionary who has a virtual license to steal from the Indian village where he is secretary—except that the Indians have nothing to steal. By chance he finds an opportunity in the labor agent business, shanghaiing luckless Indians into debt-slavery so that he can ship them off to work in the great mahogany plantations owned by foreign capital. The novel reaches a moving climax in a clash of cultures between the simple dignity of the illiterate Indians and the cynicism and corruption of the politicians and petty bureaucrats. "Traven is a very great writer.... His work must be read."—New York Times Book Review.
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