Top Five Books on Mexico

recommended by Nick Bovee-Gazett

My personal top five book selections on Mexican culture, history, and society.

  • 1


    Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America
    by John Charles Chasteen

    In "Born in Blood and Fire," historian John Chasteen crafts a journey through Latin America's history, spanning from its pre-colonial roots to the Cold War era. I read this narrative during my college years, and I was particularly fascinated by the chapters on Mexico. It was in this book that I first learned about the Grito de Dolores and Mexico's strained (and even tragic) relationship with the United States. Chasteen's eloquent prose weaves intricate events seamlessly, placing them within a broader hemispheric framework. By observing Latin America through this expansive lens, it becomes evident how interactions, first with European colonizers and subsequently with the United States, profoundly influenced the tapestry of the entire region.

  • 2


    Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers
    by Anabel Hernandez, Iain Bruce, Lorna Scott Fox & Roberto Saviano

    A difficult but illuminating history, it delves into how drug money and power have shaped contemporary Mexico.

  • 3


    A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico
    by Amy S. Greenberg

    Porfirio Diaz once said, "Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States." This book takes up the intricate racial, linguistic, and ideological factors that prompted the United States to initiate a war of conquest against its newly independent neighbor, a nation that, like the U.S., had recently shed its colonial chains.

  • 4


    Zapata and the Mexican Revolution
    by John Womack

    Womack's book on Zapata traces his evolution from a bandit to a revolutionary, situating his actions within the broader context of the revolutionary movement.It pairs well with Hobsbawm's "Bandits."

  • 5


    The Labyrinth of Solitude: The Other Mexico, Return to the Labyrinth of Solitude, Mexico and the Uni
    by Octavio Paz

    A collection of essays by the renowned Mexican poet and political thinker, Octavio Paz. Each essay explores various facets of Mexican history, culture, and identity.

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