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

    This book by historian John Chasteen is a sweeping history of Latin America from pre-colonial times through the Cold War. I read this while in college and the chapters on Mexico were some of the best! Chasteen's writing makes this history easy to follow and places events in a wider hemispheric context. The wider-angle lens on Latin America allows you to see how patterns of colonization and contact with first European powers and later the United States shaped the entire region.

  • 2


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

    A history that's both tragic and revealing. It has a lot to say about how drug money and power have shaped modern 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 explains the complex racial, linguistic, and ideological dimensions that led the United States to wage a war of conquest on what was at that time a brand new neighboring republic that, like the United States, had just thrown off colonial rule.

  • 4


    Zapata and the Mexican Revolution
    by John Womack

    Another book I read in college. The focus is on Emiliano Zapata, a man who went from bandit to revolutionary. It places his activities in the context of the wider revolutionary movement.

  • 5


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

    A series of essays by Mexican poet and political thinker Octavio Paz. Each essay explores different aspects of Mexican history, culture, and identity.

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