In This Review

Revolution of Hope: The Life, Faith, and Dreams of a Mexican President
Revolution of Hope: The Life, Faith, and Dreams of a Mexican President
By Vicente Fox with Rob Allyn
Viking, 2007, 400 pp

Many Mexicans will not recognize the self-portrait of their former president in Revolution of Hope, which Fox and his co-author overtly pitch to a U.S. audience. (It is certainly unusual for a leader to publish his memoirs first in a foreign language.) But Fox has often broken the mold: he unseated the "perfect dictatorship" that had ruled over Mexico for 70 years, was the first Mexican president to visit a synagogue, and now is building Mexico's first presidential library. Readers can judge whether the self-comparisons of this former Coca-Cola salesman to iconic historical figures (Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King) are over the top, but Fox's personal journey is persuasively courageous, and his undeniable contribution to Mexico's peaceful transition to democracy is certainly worthy of high tribute. Rooted in Jesuit values and business acumen, his defiant crusades against official corruption, individual indifference, and faux nationalism make for poignant and engrossing reading. His review of his own presidency (2000-2006) is somewhat thinner, and Fox candidly recognizes his preference for campaigning over governing, the headline-grabbing grand gesture over the tedious details of public policy. Fox's impassioned pleas for a united Americas of bridges, not walls, will irritate anti-immigrant groups to the north and xenophobic politicians in the south of Mexico, but they are firmly grounded in his faith in U.S.-led globalization.