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A Concise History of Mexico by Brian R. Hamnett


A Concise History of Mexico by Brian R. Hamnett

The second edition of this accessible study of Mexico includes two new features: an examination of cultural developments since Independence from Spain in 1821 and a discussion of contemporary issues up to the time of publication. Several new plates with captions expand the thematic coverage in the book. The updated edition examines the administration of Vicente Fox, who came to power with the elections of 2000. The new sections reinforce the importance of Mexico's long and disparate history, from the Precolumbian era onwards, in shaping the country as it is today. This Concise History looks at Mexico from political, economic and cultural perspectives, and tackles controversial themes such as the impact of the Spanish Conquest and the struggle to establish an independent Mexico. A broad range of readers interested in the modern-day Americas should find here a helpful introduction to this vibrant and dynamic North-American society.


' ... the book ... invites debate among scholars. General readers will find it a useful ... introduction to Mexican history.'
The Times Literary Supplement

'The great difference between this book and its predecessors is a periodisation which corresponds to the most recent debates in Mexican historiography and an innovative approach to the history of the indigenous American peoples. This is a periodisation, which allows for the identification of continuities as well as dividing lines. In such a way, the traditional turning-points at 1810 and 1910, have been set within their respective contexts, the period of Destabilisation and Fragmentation (1770-1867) and a period of Reconstruction (1867-1940).'

'While providing a clear and yet highly sophisticated synthesis of the main themes that have characterised Mexico's development from the pre-Columbian era to the present, Hamnett also revises the periodisation that has generally been accepted in the traditional historiography. In other words, he has succeeded in pulling off a near-impossible feat: to provide the newcomer to Mexico with an engaging introduction to the country's history and provoke the specialists into rethinking the way historians have tended to portray the country's political progression, in particular from colony to nation-state. Moreover, Hamnett's synthesis, in incorporating the different interpretations that have come to be espoused over the last twenty years, provides a refreshingly novel and revisionist approach to the subject.'
Will Fowler, Journal of Latin American Studies

'Hamnett develops this Concise History of Mexico in a way which shows the interrelation of political, economic, social and cultural elements, thereby deepening the analysis beyond descriptive history. This can be seen from the opening, 'Mexico in Perspective', which deals with themes such as Mexican migration to the United States, the frontier question, the drug trade, the North-American Free Trade Area Treaty, and the generally complicated nature of relations between Mexico and the United States. At the same time, he examines what he has called 'the Indian question', deeply problematic and very much alive. In such a way, he begins this study of the inequalities and contrasts, many of them rooted in Mexican history and rarely studied like this until now.'

'A superior, accessible history of Mexico that does full justice to the origins of the country's complex multiethnic and multicultural texture.'
Kenneth Maxwell, Foreign Affairs

' ... a survey of Mexican history which makes for a perfect introduction for either general or high school readers.'

's Bookwatch 'Hamnett develops this Concise History of Mexico in a way which shows the interrelation of political, economic, social and cultural elements, thereby deepening the analysis beyond descriptive history.'
Anuario de Estudios Americanos

About the Author

Brian Hamnett is a Research Professor in History at the University of Essex. He has researched and travelled widely in the Iberian peninsula and Latin America, and written extensively on Mexico. His recent publications deal with the late Spanish colonial period, the struggles for independence, and nineteenth-century Mexican history.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th May 2006


Brian R. Hamnett

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Cambridge University Press


400 pages


History of the Americas



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