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Mexico Mass Market Paperback – March 2, 1994


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; First Mass Market Edition edition (March 2, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449221873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449221877
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schematic plotting, tortilla-thin characterizations and lengthy digressions on bullfighting mar this lumbering multigenerational saga about Mexico's resilient spirit, which Michener began in 1961 and returned to 30 years later. Norman Clay, earnest American journalist born and raised in Mexico, is sent to his native city in 1961 to cover a potentially deadly showdown between two famous matadors who represent "the two faces of Mexico, the Spaniard versus the Indian." This bullfight festival, the book's centerpiece, is interwoven with more interesting historical interludes in which Clay grapples with his own mixed heritage. His diverse ancestors include a 16th-century Mexican Indian queen who leads a women's revolt against human sacrifice, a Spanish scholar burned at the stake during the Inquisition, a Franciscan soldier-priest who accompanies Hernan Cortes to Mexico, a Virginia plantation proprietor who loses his wife and sons in the Civil War, and Clay's father, a silver-mine owner who participates in the Mexican Revolution. The colorful novel cuts a wide swath through history but doesn't catch fire as a personal story. BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Michener began this novel 30 years ago, put it aside, and until recently left it unfinished. Perhaps that is why it is less formulaic than most of his mammoth excursions into the history of particular localities. Mexican-born Norman Clay, a journalist for a New York publication, returns to his natal city to report on the bullfights that highlight its annual festival. This year two matadors are joined in a rivalry that could end in death. Michener dramatizes the contradictions of contemporary Mexico not only in the conflicting styles and backgrounds of the matadors but also through the many duplicities inherent in bullfighting itself. The contradictions of 1961 Mexico are the result of its history, which is personified by Norman Clay, with his heritage of Pre-Columbian Amerindians, Spanish clerics and conquistadors, rancheros and mestizos, and even an unreconstructed Virginia rebel who found sanctuary in Mexico following our Civil War. Not the usual dutiful slog through the generations but a more carefully constructed interweaving of present and past, and one of Michener's finest efforts. Previewed in Prepub Alert, 8/92.
- Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

It was more of a story, while very knowledgeably written, than a text book.
Mickey Adcox
His novels usually span centuries, and sometimes the peripheral characters become confusing if you don't play close attention.
Albert L. Menard
As I noted in my review of his My Lost Mexico, I don't know how or why I neglected this book in the past.
John R. Lindermuth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on April 1, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Forty-five years ago, James A. Michener walked away from a novel he was writing about Mexico. He had "run out of steam" and decided that some time away from the work would be beneficial. In July of 1992, his notes and manuscripts were rediscovered. Keeping the core of his original work, Michener completed the novel that was published as "Mexico". Although not perfect, it was a very entertaining and extremely interesting 672 pages.

The story involves Norman Clay, and American journalist of Mexican ancestry who has been sent to Toledo, Mexico (the fictional city of his birth), to cover the 1961 Izmiq Festival for a New York magazine. Expecting a spectacular bullfight on the third day of the festival, Clay fills his thoughts with childhood memories and a history of the city as seen from the perspective of his forebears. The landscape of Toledo, dominated by an ancient pyramid and a 16th century cathedral, provides the colorful setting for Michener's often sentimental journey into Mexico's past.

"Mexico" draws the reader into a universe where time is fluid and events that happened 1400 years ago seem just as current and relevant as the contemporary Ixmiq Festival. This idea of connection is Michener's central theme. Early in the book, Clay says, "I could look nowhere without seeing the handiwork of someone in my family, stretching back for more than a thousand years, tied to the harsh red soil of Mexico." The land, its history and its people are the chords that bind life in Mexico together.

Michener has created this historically based world, and filled it with characters who speak and react as real people do for a dual purpose.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Thomas VINE VOICE on February 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read many of Michcner's books and found many style similarities with this one as well. Unlike Chesapeake, and Centennial, and Texas, and others, we spend more time in the present (1960s) looking at the current events surrounding the three-day Festival of Flowers and its bull fights, and a bit less looking at the historical pathways leading up to it. My favorite aspect of Michener books is the historical parts which is why I only gave this book 4 of 5 stars. The characters are definitely multi-dimensional, however, and Michener ties in all timelines of the novel well. I was left with a much greater insight into the psyche of the Mexican people. An overall excellent read.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Howard on March 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
Michener says it himself in the closing pages of MEXICO: There has to be more to Mexico than bullfighting. But in reading this novel about the country, you would hardly know it. Set around a journalist, Norman Clay, who is covering a bullfight, the reader is offered only tempting tidbits of what Mexico has to offer. I read JM's TEXAS, last year, which contained large portions that included descriptions and events in Mexico. I assumed MEXICO would be more in depth and touch upon the rich culture of the Aztecs. I was somewhat disappointed.
Though MEXICO did provide glimpses into the past of the Indians living in Mexico before the Spaniards came, the clashes with Cortez and the Conquistadors was sorely missing. The Spanish rape of Mexico was barely tapped and I really wanted to read more about the politics that shaped today's nation of Mexico. JM shortchanged the Mexican and Mexico with this book. TEXAS was so brilliantly written, I guess lightening couldn't strike twice.
On the up side, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about bullfighting. Though brief, the sections on the early Indians and the building of the pyramids was vivid and informative.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kent Joris on September 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a 1st time Michener reader, I loved Mexico. Michener weaves a story that is at once a tour-de-force of bullfighting, a sweeping panarama of Mexican history, an apologetic of the Mexican psyche for (typically) arrogant North Americans, and an exploration of the purpose of life for a middle aged Mexican-American journalist. It is a credit to Michener's art that he can pull off all that in a seemless and gripping read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Owens on April 21, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I live in Mexico and a friend just recently loaned me the book to read. I found it captivating. Especially since I can see the mixed influence of cultures when I look outside my window. I live in a city where a giant pyramid once stood built by the Aztecs, it is now covered with dirt, trees, and most importantly an imposing church built by Cortez in the 1500's. Until I read this book I didn't think much about the infusion of Spanish and Indian in the lives of people I daily interact with, but the history major in me now is enthralled with the history of my new culture. The bullfighting sections were intriguing, especially since I have attended several bullfights in my time here, now I understand things so much more clearly and see how even a "national passtime" is a mixture of both cultures that defines Mexico. Maybe I just loved this book so much because I love Mexico, its my new home, being an expatriate here, and I think Michener vividly describes and captures the world I see around me everyday. It has caused me to look deeper into the faces and buildings I see when I stroll downtown. I think "Mexico" gives a very insighful glimpse into the heart of the country.
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