Maximillian Juarez CL

Jasper Ridley, Author, Jasper Ridler, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $24.95 (353p) ISBN 978-0-89919-989-4
Ridley ( Elizabeth I ) offers a highly-detailed narrative of Napoleon III's strange, tragic mid-19th-century effort to install the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximillian as emperor of Mexico. Drawing on a wealth of sources, Ridley ably reconstructs the battle between Mexican liberal nationalists and conservative monarchists, the role of liberal leader Benito Juarez, the intervention of the Great Powers and the background of the indecisive archduke. The complex story includes debates over religious tolerance, jockeying over alliances with the Confederate States or with the Union, and the persistence of Juarez's guerrillas against the occupying French. When Napoleon, who had banked on a Confederate victory, wished to avoid war with the United States, he began a process that led to liberal victory and Maximillian's capture and execution. Those unfamiliar with the story may find the book, which would have benefited from a supplemental time line or chronology, confusing. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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