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The Oxford History of Mexico Paperback – August 3, 2010


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The Oxford History of Mexico + The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers) + The Course of Mexican History
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199731985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199731985
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.6 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With a population of nearly 100 million people, Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Although contemporary American images of the country range from illegal border crossings to peasant uprisings, this important work uncovers a vital and volatile civilization with its roots in the indigenous Mayan, Olmec, and Aztec cultures, which collided with the conquering Spaniards who brought African slaves with them in the 16th century. "The course of Mexican history, as with that of any other nation, demonstrates amply that sincerity and guile can occupy the same page," the editors write. "There is much in the Mexican experience to command admiration and ennoble the human spirit, even if on a few occasions it might also cause an eyebrow to be raised."

In The Oxford History of Mexico, 21 scholars unravel Mexico's long history of Indian extermination, slavery, colonialism, and U.S. expansion with new information outlining environmental, gender, and pop culture studies, particularly comic books and telenova soap operas. They also detail the cultural growth and development of this nation. Of course, the great historical figures are also given close attention: Montezuma, the great Aztec leader; Hernán Cortés, the conquistador who brought down the Aztec empire; Malinche, Cortés' Indian mistress and interpreter; and Pancho Villa, who led the 1910 Mexican Revolution. Artistically, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and José Orozco are cited, as are writers such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Octavio Paz, and Carlos Fuentes. This is a comprehensive guide to a rich and varied country. --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

During the last 20 years, Mexican history has been reinterpreted and reevaluated. Meyer (history, emeritus, Univ. of Arizona; coauthor of The Course of Mexican History) and Beezley (history, Univ. of Arizona; coauthor of El Gran Pueblo) have compiled 20 previously unpublished essays by experts who explore Mexico from precolonial times to the present. Each expert contributes a chapter on his or her time period, and the essays reflect the latest research (as opposed to most single-author textbooks, which tend to summarize the studies of others). Several of the authors are Mexican, adding a dimension not often found in the writing of Americans on Mexico. Examining the country with new and different approaches, the contributors challenge traditional historical concepts on a variety of issues. This volume will be a valuable addition to most academic libraries as well as many public libraries with collections on Latin America and Mexico.DMark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ. Provo, UT
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By John C. Mckee on March 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The "Oxford History of Mexico" is a well researched multidisciplinary book of history. It is an edited book, meaning that many authors devote their energies to the analysis of a single aspect of the glorious and heartbreaking history of Mexico. Thus, while each topic is well covered, there is some lack of narrative flow. Editor Michael Meyer is the author of another excellent history "The Course of Mexican History" that has a great narrative pace combined with a high level of detail. However, his book has been criticized for slighting the colonial experience. So, I guess with a story as complicated, long and eventful as the history of Mexico, you must sacrifice some narrative flow to provide detail or sacrifice detail to narrative flow.
That quibble aside, this is truly an excellent book. The colonial experience is vividly detailed with sections on the resistance of the Indian to exploitation, the social stratification of the Indian class during the colonial period, and the role of women in society including marriage and childbirth. Further, Santa Anna, an enormously polarizing character comes in for justifiable criticism (Texas, his ideological flip flops and lack of constancy to any of his allies over the years) but also is praised for his bravery and consistent patriotism and opposition to all forms of foreign domination of Mexico.
Finally, the role of ideology in the revolution is explored. While there were socialist overtones to much of the rhetoric that came out of the revolution, pragmatism and Mexicanidad prevail. That is, a truly independent course, truly Mexican, emerges without the ideological straight-jackets worn by other revolutionaries.
A remarkable effort and a recommended read to anyone with a interest in Mexican culture, history and politics.
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful By R. Forehand on July 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was somewhat of a disappointment. I am an adult student of Spanish and have developed a keen interest in -- but am still a relative novice on -- the history of Mexico. I bought this book after having read several short accounts of Mexican history -- for example, various travel guide history sections (including the relatively thoughtful Insight/Discovery Channel Guide). Additionally, I have studied Mexican history on several academic websites. I bought this book hoping to "pull it all together" and get a solid foundation. Instead, I got book that was admittedly interesting ... BUT was a disjointed collection of articles written by different authors in different styles that (1) assumed a much greater base knowledge that I had and (2) concentrated on just a few social and political issues and eras and left huge chronological gaps. So ... I'd recommend that you buy this book ONLY if you don't need it ... that is, that you already are conversant in Mexican history. A better selection as a primer might be The Course of Mexican History by Meyer, Sherman and Deeds -- designed as a textbook, but pretty readable.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A must-read book to understand México's post-modern conscious. Meyer and Beezley are right when they wrote that a mix of Catholic dogma, medical advances and poverty had been the pillars of México's current population (about 100 million). The analysis on the indigenous matter is brilliant. It's a reminder on how México hasn't solved the indigenous problem even after almost 200 years as an independent country. The authors dissect the socioeconomic web that gave birth to the concept of the modern Mexicano.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jerry on July 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book extremely hard to follow even with a basic understanding of the history of Mexico. I agree with what the other reviewers have said in that this book lacks a narrative flow and seems disjointed at points because it is organized, though in roughly chronological order, by specific themes. Right up till talking about the colonial era, it dedicates three chapters specifically on the indiginous, women and religion across a period of several hundred years. the book also goes into very high detail about everything, which makes it hard to piece together a general picture if you don't have a good hold on the general story already or if you don't plan on reading it more than once. In conclusion, it may be a good book for what it is and for its targeted audience, but I don't recommend to start reading this book if you are in need of a general outline of the course of events. It is probably useful for reference or going into depth on certain (or all) aspects of history and to complement one's understanding.
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By John Robinson on March 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Superb collection of studies. Meyer has brought together a wonderful assemblage of scholarly works on Mexico. As one would expect, the articles vary significantly in their academic quality. But the discerning non-scholar can enjoy these.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very engaging and thought-provoking book, it delves into the complex history of Mexico. The several sections and essays can stand alone, but together build a historical perspective that explains the nature of Mexican society. From the vast cultural and political underpinnings of Pre Colombian societies to the immensely complicated Mexican Revolution of 1910, with a plethora of heroes, villains and alliances, and to current challenges, which are all consequences of that history, this book does not disappoint.
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