“Mexico’s history is a mixture of conquest and plunder, violence and brutality, fabulous civilizations, and spectacular cultural achievements. A fascinating story.”–Christian Science Monitor
There have been many Mexicos: the country of varied terrain, of Amerindian heritage, of the Spanish Conquest, of the Revolution, and of the modern era of elections and the rule of bankers. Mexico was forged in the fires of successive civilizations, and baptized with the blood of millions, all of whom added tragic dimensions to the modern Mexican identity. T. R. Fehrenbach brilliantly delineates the contrasts and conflicts between them, unraveling the history while weaving a fascinating tapestry of beauty and brutality: the Amerindians, who wrought from the vulnerable land a great indigenous Meso-American civilization by the first millennium B.C.; the successive reigns of Olmec, Maya, Toltec, and Mexic masters, who ruled through an admirably efficient bureaucracy and the power of the priests, propitiating the capricious gods with human sacrifices; the Spanish conquistadors, who used smallpox, technology, and their own ruthless individualism to erect a new tyranny over the ruins of the old; the agony of independent Mexico, struggling with the weight of its overwhelming past and tremendous potential. Throughout the narrative the author resurrects the great personalities of Mexican history, such as Motecuhzoma, Cortes, Santa Anna, Juárez, Maximilian, Díaz, Pancho Villa, and Zapata. Fehrenbach, who has updated this edition to include recent events, has created a work of scholarly perspective and gripping prose.