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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mexico - by James A. Michener - My Review

I have never read any of Michener's books. I was also warned that Mexico is not one of his better books - not only by friends but from reviews I checked out here on Goodreads.

That said, I think this is a great book. Moreover, if this is one of his not-so-good reads then, I am definitely picking up "Alaska," "Texas," and "Hawaii."

Michener's depth of knowledge is incredible. I have never read anything like it. Since one of my degrees is History with an emphasis on border studies, I found this book completely engaging. It covers Mexican history from pre-columbian times to the early 1950's. To get that kind of historical perspective, you would have to read a history text like Meyer & Sherman's, "The Course of Mexican History."

One of the chief complaints regarding Michener's, "Mexico" was that there was a heavy emphasis on Bullfighting which was part of the main story. I do not particularly like anything relating to Bullfighting because the odds are stacked against the bull and regardless of how well he defends himself against the Matador and crew, his fate is sealed; he will die.

Regardless, I found the information interesting as it reflected much about the cultural perspectives of Mexico and yields a deeper contextual understanding of Latin American world view which often seems to get lost - especially nowadays as xenophobia abounds in the USA regarding Mexicans.

While Michener's scope of knowledge is staggering, I wish he had delved even farther back in history to yield a deeper understanding about bulls and their significance in pre-western culture. Nonetheless, it is beautifully written book. It reveals nuances of Mexican culture which I believe are absolutely essential for we as Norte Americanos to understand.

Why? Mexican's are the fastest growing population of American Citizens and their penchant for strong central government, their comparatively high religiosity and appreciation for strong - even dictatorial leaders will most definitely have bearing on future US Leaderships which they and their descendants will influence when they world view by plebiscite.

Example: Owing to Ronald Reagan's Amnesty program, there is no denying they helped to elect George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger into office because they shared political alignment and held loyalty to the Republican party. However, their shift in political allegiance has begun to move in the opposite direction owing to the increasing hostility toward Mexicans as isolationist sentiments are on the rise.


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