Triumphs and Tragedy: A History of the Mexican People

Ramon Eduardo Ruiz, Author
Ramon Eduardo Ruiz, Author W. W. Norton & Company $29.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-393-03023-5
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-393-31066-5
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The Maya and Olmecs mastered painting, sculpture and astronomy, but after the Spanish conquest the glories of ancient Mexico became dim ancestral memories. Mexican history, writes Ruiz, is mostly a tragedy, punctuated by sporadic triumphs exemplified by painter Jose Clemente Orozco and by reformist president Lazaras Cardenas, apostle of the downtrodden. Hard-hitting without being doctrinaire, this vastly illuminating people's history gives voice to the collective trauma of a nation decimated by Spanish colonial rule, betrayed by corrupt politicos and incompetent army chiefs, then manipulated into servile dependence on its neighbor to the north. Ruiz ( The Great Rebellion ), history professor at UC-San Diego, fuses cultural, political and social history. He shows that ``trickle-down'' capitalist economics since the early 1940s has been ``a hoax'' for the great majority of Mexicans. Photos. History Book Club alternate. (Feb.)