In This Review

Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans
Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans
By Alan Riding
Knopf, 1985, 400 pp

This is the way country descriptions and analysis should be written. The political, economic and social highlights receive full treatment, as well as cultural and psychological aspects usually overlooked, all with great sensitivity. Of particular interest is the account of the Mexican family, viewed both as "the single most powerful reason why economic crisis has not translated into social unrest," and as the source of insularity that leads Mexicans to distrust society as a whole. Corruption, in every niche and level, is impossible to eradicate since it sustains the entire system of alliances. As for the future, the author sees stability endangered less by left-led rebellion by the masses than by mutiny of the middle classes led by the right.