Friday, May 01, 2009

Mexican Immigration Post #1: Addendum: Required Reading

The following are several books that help shed some light on the Mexican culture, border culture, and Mexican politics. There are several others worth noting but I've found these to be the most accessible and descriptive.

  1. Labyrinth of Solitude, Octavio Paz: This is a classic piece of literature from the Nobel Laureate that really delves into the psyche of the Mexican people. If you can understand this you can really get a better understanding of the hopes and fears of the nation.
  2. True Tales from Another Mexico, Sam Quinones: A great read that helps illustrate the different subcultures within Mexico through crisp chapters depicting such subject matter as Chalino Sanchez, Jesus Malverde, and mob justice.
  3. Bordering on Chaos, Andres Oppenheimer: Though slightly dated it reads very well and allows you to look at Mexico from a more macro lens. It covers the major events that have shaped Mexican politics and culture over the last 100 years. Some of the insights into things like the Mexican Peso crisis of 1994 read as fast as anything put out by Grisham.
  4. Distant Neighbors, Alan Riding: A slightly drier book in the same vein as "True Tales." Each chapter explains an event, culture, or mentality that is absolutely critical to understanding Mexico.
  5. Batos, Bolillos, Pochos and Pelados, Chad Richardson: Written by a professor and former Stake President in my South Texas mission this book takes a more academic look at the impact that immigrants have had on border communities, particularly the Texas Mexico border. It is a great sociological read that helps elucidate the fascinating mosaic of people that make up border communities.

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