The History of Mexico

Burton Kirkwood, Author Palgrave MacMillan $18.95 (245p) ISBN 978-1-4039-6258-4
Dry, impersonal and filled with facts, the latest addition to the Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations series often reads like an over-long encyclopedia entry. Kirkwood, a professor of history at the University of Evansville, Indiana, divides the volume under subheadings like ""Geography,"" ""Population and Language,"" ""Wage Labor"" and ""Colonial Economic Order."" His most vivid chapters cover the Spanish conquest of the Aztec people and are rife with compelling details about that period's brutality. For example, he explains that Aztecs sacrificed humans to their gods because they believed that ""shooting a victim with arrows so that his blood dripped on to the ground was ... a manner by which to revitalize the soil."" Kirkwood occasionally presents his opinions as fact, as in his discussion of NAFTA and the ""Americanization"" of Mexico. He also provides very little detail about Mexico's thriving arts communities and its church life; Frida Kahlo, for example, is mentioned in a closing chapter on the ""Notable People in the History of Mexico"" but doesn't have a place in the main narrative. The volume does, however, give a comprehensive overview of the military and economic history of the U.S.'s southern neighbor--which makes it all the more unfortunate that Kirkwood decided to close his chronicle with Mexico's 1997 election. He leaves for other histories the dramatic events of the past seven years, including President Vicente Fox's overturning of the powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 2000.
Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 267 pages - 978-0-313-00243-4
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