This article is from the July 1997 The Mexico File newsletter.
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Book Review
Mexico : Biography of Power, A History of Modern Mexico, 1810-1996


(translated by Hank Heifetz), by Enrique Collins.
New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

(translated by Hank Heifetz), by Enrique Collins.
New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Do you want to know a little something about Mexico's history? How did it get to its present state and why does it differ so much from its northern neighbor? This 800 page book is a treasure, and it was a work in progress for fifteen years of the author's life.

Although the book covers only 186 years of Mexican history, it depicts it well and completely. There are individual chapters on nearly all the presidents and a thorough discussion of the major events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. You will learn all about Mexico's independence from Spain, the revolution of 1910-1920, the agricultural system, and the history of oil exploration and how it has affected the country.

Even though the book is a history lesson, it is an entertaining read. Collins has some definite opinions on Mexico's politics and the history of corruption that has permeated the country for decades. The author portrays as villains two of Mexico’s ex-presidents, Luis Echevería and his successor, José López Portillo. He states that the economic blunders made by the two presidents from the 1970's are largely responsible for the condition of the country today.

This book is highly recommended for anyone with a desire to understand the country and the people of Mexico. Learning Mexico’s history will greatly enhance your future trips. D.S.