Mexico: Biography of Power
By Enrique Krauze
If one were to read only one book on Latin America this year, Krauze's book should be it. He provides a superb overview of Mexico's tumultuous history, never losing sight of the foibles and accidental grandeur and tragedy of individual lives, or of how a succession of authoritarian and at times highly idiosyncratic rulers influenced that history. Krauze dissects the political system that eventually emerged from the Mexican revolution and is currently struggling to accommodate a powerful movement toward greater democracy and accountability. As North America becomes more integrated by trade, immigration, capital flows, and environmental concerns, the more Americans know about their neighbor to the south the better, and Krauze's splendid book is where they should begin.