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Defending the Land of the Jaguar: A History of Conservation in Mexico Paperback – 1995


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The dismal state of Mexico's environment was a major wrangling point in the recent negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which would lead many readers to believe that Mexico has little, if any, historical interest in conservation. Independent scholar Simonian points out that Mexico actually has a long history of trying to protect its environment, one that stretches back to before the Spaniards' arrival. Simonian doesn't glorify these past civilizations but instead points out that their concern for and appreciation of natural beauty coincided with ancient farming techniques that to this day result in poor crop yields and force Mexico to import such staples as corn and beans. Readers will sympathize with the frustration of environmentalists from Miguel Angel de Quevedo to Homero Aridjis as they grapple with the question of conservation versus industrialization and struggle to prove they can coexist. Avid green readers will enjoy this clearly written book but will be disappointed to discover that it merely recounts Mexico's journey to the brink of ecological disaster without offering any advice on how, now facing a new economic crisis, the country can avoid going over the edge.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Simonian has provided us with a history of conservation in Mexico that will be a standard text for some time to come. It is concise and well-written and, because it makes a complex topic easily accessible, it will be widely used by teachers as well as specialists and activists. (American Historical Review)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292776918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292776913
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,727,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1996
Format: Paperback
Kudos to author Lane Simonian for producing the definitive English-language
account of Mexican environmental history. Defending the Land of the
Jaguar traces the history of conservation and environmentalism in Mexico from
the pre-Conquest era to roughly 1992 and the NAFTA debates.

I read this book with some trepidation, since it's a subject so close to my heart,
having covered interior and border environmental issues for the past few years.
Conveniently, the book ends just at the time that I entered Mexico. In some ways I
wish I had had this book, but I guess I was lucky to be able to explore some of
these topics on my own.

Do I recommend this book? Definitely. This is a must read for anyone interested
in Latin American environmental issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By guyb@ucsd.edu on February 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
Simonian's book provides an excellent overview of the principal figures and events in the history of conservation in Mexico. The only improvement that could be made would have been to offer a more detailed analysis of the major events, leading to a profounder understanding of the reasons for the current state of conservation in Mexico. Ofcourse, this could only have been done in the course of longer book. For readers trying to understand conservation and environmental policy in the larger context of Mexican political and cultural history, I would strongly recommend reading an additional text on the general history of modern Mexico.
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