Mexico Book Lists
The best books on Mexico: start your reading here
Late in January, I visited Mexico City. I escaped the frigid temperatures of the Midwest and dove into the world of sunlight and open-air bookstores, agave plants and early-morning tamales. But as I left, I had an important question: What should I bring to read? What books about Mexico City would best occupy me while I saw and explored the real thing? There are so many Mexican and Mexican-American authors that I should have read way earlier! As I visited the best bookish places in Mexico City , I dug into some of this fiction, and looked for these books on the shelves.
Make Your Own List. Explorer, film-maker and writer, Hugh Thomson , picks the best books on Mexico, from the revolution in , to the conquistadors, to gold mines, to the fatalism of Mexico and more. But Malcolm Lowry was one of the few English writers who actually spent quite a lot of time in the country. Graham Greene was only there for five weeks or so before writing his novel, but Lowry got under the skin of Mexico in a way that few of his contemporaries did. I think it was the lure of the exotic and the unknown, of a different value system. Mexico provided all that and was relatively easy to get to from the States.
Updated February 23, by Ben G. This wiki has been updated 14 times since it was first published in February of Whether you're a student looking to expand your knowledge, a seasoned professor who needs sources for a paper or new materials to teach from, or just an enthusiast who loves to explore the latest research, our list of books on Mexican history will help you find anything from a comprehensive overview to a deep dive into a moment in the country's life. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best mexican history book on Amazon. Those interested in teaching or who prefer textbooks to something with a bit more of a narrative focus might find The Course of Mexican History to be their best bet. It works especially well as a reference text, in case you need one for a personal library.
Under the Volcano
One of the only non-fiction entries on this list comes from the incomparable journalist and writer Elena Poniatowska , with her social history of the devastating earthquake that flattened many parts of Mexico City. A classic of Chilean literature , The Savage Detectives is actually set in Mexico City and expertly weaves its tale through the streets of this vast capital. Based in , it follows a year-old poet as he gets immersed in the world of a strange literary movement, all the while navigating the streets of Mexico City. Despite being infinitely better known for On The Road, he was also the author of a novella based entirely in Mexico City; Tristessa. Set predominantly in the historic centre and La Roma, Tristessa follows his turbulent relationship with a Mexican prostitute. Despite her real name being Esperanza hope , he nicknames her Tristessa an Anglicization of tristeza, or sadness.
Fuentes's epic novel uses one woman's life and loves to sweep through years of Mexican history. The execution of her half-brother Santiago from one of four generations of Santiagos in the novel by firing squad at the start of the revolution launches her political journey. Laura has hardly a dull moment as Mexico heads towards becoming a modern nation. She witnesses, chronicles, discusses or participates in all the country's seminal political and cultural events of the 20th century, through to the early s. Real-life luminaries such as artists Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo are also woven into the rich tapestry of Laura's life. Fuentes's grand project encompasses Mexico's political upheavals, its union movement, the Spanish civil war, the Holocaust, McCarthyism and the massacre of students in Mexico City on the eve of the Olympics Laura's grandson, Santiago, is one of the victims.