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.
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