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Volume 62 / Humanities


JÜRGEN BUCHENAU, Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

THE PERIOD REVIEWED marked the publication of several new syntheses of Mexican history. Among these syntheses, the most important are Alan Knight's three-part history of Mexico, a work in progress (item #bi2004003458#) as well as two edited anthologies of essays and sources on a broad sweep of Mexican history: Gilbert Joseph and Tim Henderson's The Mexico Reader, a highly useful anthology of sources and interpretations focused particularly on the period since the revolution of 1910 (item #bi2004003461#), and Jeffrey Pilcher's The Human Tradition in Mexico, a collection of vignettes on the lives of individual Mexicans since 1750 (item #bi2004003456#). Also notable for their broad chronological scope are works that examine particular themes or aspects in Mexican history such as Enrique Florescano's survey of historiography (item #bi2004003495#) and Joseph Cotter's work on agronomy in Mexico (item #bi2005003922#).

Common to all of these syntheses except Cotter's is an effort to include the voices of ordinary Mexicans, and all of these works share a concern with overcoming the reliance of older syntheses on political and economic history. The general works on the growing fields of social and cultural history focus on a diverse array of themes: immigration to Mexico, particularly from Europe (items #bi2004003485#, #bi2004003493#, and #bi2004003697#), intellectuals (items #bi2004003495# and #bi2004003471#), urban history (items #bi2004003477# and #bi2004003460#), and daily life (item #bi2004003457#).

Political and military history, however, are well represented in general and regional histories of Mexico, and particularly those of Mexican origin (for example, items #bi2004003690#, #bi2004003691#, and #bi2004003483#). Both of the volumes published as part of the Breve historia series on the histories of Mexican states focus on political history (items #bi2004003463# and #bi2005003652#), and the availability of new archives on political and military leaders informs works such as Martha Loyo's study of Joaquín Amaro, the general in charge of the institutionalization of the Mexican military after the revolution (item #bi2004003507#).

The explosion of regional studies continues in Mexican historiography, and the period reviewed features a large number of works on individual states, cities, and towns. This scholarship is based on a plurality of approaches and methodologies, and some of it is primarily of local rather than broader interest.

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