Enrique Krauze is the author of Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Letras Libres, published in Mexico City. Hank Heifetz is a poet, novelist, and translator from Spanish, Sanskrit, and Tamil. (June 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

Mexico in the Full Light of Day

A Visit to Don Otavio: A Mexican Journey

by Sybille Bedford, with an introduction by Bruce Chatwin
It was her reading of Calderón de la Barca’s Life in Mexico that in 1946 convinced Sybille Bedford to travel to Mexico, where she wrote her first book, A Visit to Don Otavio. Like her predecessor, Sybille Bedford uses all of her senses to describe Mexico. Her animated scenes and anecdotes are perspicacious and poetic, never condescending or merely picturesque. Every page contains some stylistic or factual surprise.

Cuba: The New Opening

Fidel Castro and his brother, President Raúl Castro, during a meeting of Cuba’s Communist Party Congress, Havana, April 2011

Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 1959–1971

by Lillian Guerra

Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana

by William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh
The history taught in Cuban schools exalts the redeeming function of the Cuban Revolution but it also, for the most part, reduces that revolution to a biography of Fidel Castro. Someday perhaps Cuban schoolchildren will have access to other versions of their history. If that day comes, Visions of Power …

The New Cuba?

A sign showing Cuban President Raúl Castro, and saying ‘May the earth tremble, compatriots!,’ Havana, Cuba, December 2014

Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana

by Marc Frank
Marc Frank’s Cuban Revelations makes almost no use of the extensive and solid academic analyses on modern Cuba. It is essentially a long reportage based on internal documents produced by the hermetic Cuban political apparatus as well as discussions with ordinary Cubans from many niches of society.

Bolívar: What Price Glory?

Simón Bolívar; nineteenth-century chromolithograph

Bolívar: American Liberator

by Marie Arana
In the Complete Works of Simón Bolívar appears a prose poem so unusual that some historians have questioned its authenticity. Entitled “Mi delirio en Chimborazo” (My Rapture on Chimborazo) and dating from around 1822, it describes the ascent (certainly only partial and perhaps completely imaginary) of the Ecuadorian volcanic peak …

Mexico at War

Heroin addicts in Tijuana, Mexico, some with Santa Muerte (Holy Death) tattoos, June 2009

El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency

by Ioan Grillo

Los señores del narco [The Lords of the Drug Trade]

by Anabel Hernández
With its terrible brutality and its death toll of nearly 60,000 lives in four years, the current Mexican drug war recalls two other periods of violence across the past two centuries of Mexican history: the War of Independence of 1810–1821 (and its long aftermath in the nineteenth century) and the …

Chiapas: The Indians’ Prophet

Rebellion in Chiapas: An Historical Reader

by John Womack Jr.

Marcos: La genial impostura

by Bertrand De la Grange and Maité Rico
Four days after the Zapatista uprising on New Year’s Day 1994 in the impoverished state of Chiapas, a reporter interviewed one of its peasant soldiers, a prisoner of the Mexican army, and asked why he was fighting. “I want there to be democracy, no more inequality,” he said. “I am …

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