Mexico: Biography of Power (Paperback)
A History of Modern Mexico, 1810–1996
"A magisterial history. . . . Will surely stand for many years as the standard history of postcolonial Mexico." — Wall Street Journal
The concentration of power in the caudillo (leader) is as much a formative element of Mexican culture and politics as the historical legacy of the Aztec emperors, Cortez, the Spanish Crown, the Mother Church and the mixing of the Spanish and Indian population into a mestizo culture. Enrique Krauze shows how history becomes biography during the century of caudillos from the insurgent priests in 1810 to Porfirio and the Revolution in 1910. The Revolutionary era, ending in 1940, was dominated by the lives of seven presidents -- Madero, Zapata, Villa, Carranza, Obregon, Calles and Cardenas. Since 1940, the dominant power of the presidency has continued through years of boom and bust and crisis. A major question for the modern state, with today's president Zedillo, is whether that power can be decentralized, to end the cycles of history as biographies of power.
Enrique Krauze is the author of twenty books, including Mexico: Biography of Power. He has written for The New York Times, The New Republic, Dissent magazine, The Washington Post, and The New York Review of Books. Krauze lives in Mexico City.
"Krauze offers a unique perspective of modern Mexico by interweaving the biographies of a number of consequential nineteenth- and twentieth-century leaders into a cohesive historical overview of the Mexican nation. . . . An insightful examination of how this unbroken cycle of power has played a decisive role in the political and social history of Mexico." — Booklist
"A book which fulfills to perfection the two-fold requirement for works of history: it combines rigorous investigation with an imagination that makes the past and people and events come alive." — Octavio Paz, author of The Labyrinth of Solitude
"A book worthy of Mexico's tumultuous history and vital to our understanding." — Kenneth Maxwell, Time
"A magisterial history...Mr. Krauze's book will surely stand for many years as the standard history of postcolonial Mexico...with its scope and color, his mural makes its powerful, unique impression." — Wall Street Journal
"A vast interpretive synthesis of two centuries of Mexican political history. . . . Krauze is masterful in bringing his characters to life." — John Bailey, Washington Post
"Much in the manner of Richard Hofstadter's tour de force The American Political Tradition, Enrique Krauze has sought to tell the remarkable history of Mexico through the men who made it." — Saul Landau, Los Angeles Times
"So what to read for an introduction to what has happened in the last couple of centuries in Mexico? The answer can now be confidently given: Enrique Krauze's original, affecting and often entertaining history of Mexico since 1810. This beautifully written book has been splendidly translated from Spanish by Hank Heifetz." — Hugh Thomas, The New Republic
"Amazingly ambitious. . . . This shrewd and in many ways brave book is necessary reading. With luck it will help Americans appreciate that Mexico is more than an abstract policy dilemma." — Sarah Kerr, New York Times Book Review
"An important contribution to the literature on Mexico's turbulent and fascinating past. . . . His focus on Mexico's leaders—the "great man" approach to history—seems particularly appropriate here and makes this book, however long, a fascinating read." — Business Week