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Historia minima de Mexico

Book Review

 

Title:

Historia minima de Mexico

Author:

Daniel Cosio Villegas  et al

Publisher:

El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico, DF

ISBN:

968-12-0618-5

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

June, 2001

Rating:

Historia minima de Mexico is a paperback book written  entirely in Spanish about Mexico. It compresses the most important elements of the history of the country into seven short chapters.

The story begins with pre-historic Mexico at the beginning of time. The book makes some assumptions about life of the original populations, but draws some conclusions about their lifestyles based upon the  artifacts they left behind. Hypotheses are made about their origins, their migration  routes, and why certain societies rose and fell at the dawn of American civilization.

The next important era that is covered coincides with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the Americas. These times were dominated by Cortez and his conquest of the existing native populations. This  era is important to understanding early Mexican history, for although there are few if any written records by the indigenous populations, the Spanish thoroughly documented this period with descriptions of the native populations and their cities as the Spanish discovered them. Another important aspect of the Spanish  domination and colonialization of Mexico is the role that the church and the missionaries played in altering the lifestyles, languages and beliefs of the indigenous tribes.

The book then moves on to a time of upheaval as the  Spanish are thrown out of the country. The original leadership fails to properly  guide the country and this ultimately culminates with the Mexican revolution.  The book notes that the military leaders of the revolution could not successfully implement many of their plans and goals since the most important figures were  dead within five years of the end of hostilities.

The book ends with a discussion of Mexico from the reform period to today. The current political and economic climates of the country are examined closely, and the book draws the conclusion that a successful economy  and bountiful harvest have always corresponded with political stability in this nation. The final pages talk about the current role of Mexico in the international community in relation to its geographic neighbors and political allies.

This book is an advanced level reader for those learning Spanish. The sentence constructions are not particularly difficult to read and the book contains a number of cognates, but beginners should consider other reading material. This presentation of Mexican history looks at many important topics in a little under 200 pages, and gives valuable insights to the cultural  evolution of Mexico and its people.

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