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Sons of the Shaking Earth, by Eric Wolf, is a wonderfully readable introduction to Mexican history.Mexico and The Maya, by Michael D Coe, are learned, well-illustrated and not over-long accounts of the great cultures of ancient Mexico.Aztecs, by Inga Clendinnen, is a fascinating, thought-provoking and vividly dramatic look into the heart of Aztec society.Time among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico, by Ronald Wright, follows the author's travels in Mayan territory as he investigates the ancient Maya and their conceptualization of time.History of the Conquest of New Spain, by Bernal Díaz del Castillo, is an eyewitness account of the Spanish arrival by one of Cortés' lieutenants.History of the Conquest of Mexico, by William Henry Prescott, remains a classic, even though published in 1843 by an author who never went to Mexico.Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans, by Alan Riding, is an excellent guide to understanding modern Mexico and its love-hate relationship with the United States.So Far from God: A Journey to Central America, by Patrick Marnham, is a vivid account of a trip from California, through Mexico to the badlands of Central America. The title comes from the saying 'Poor Mexico! So far from God, so close to the United States.'Carlos Fuentes' highly regarded works include Where the Air is Clear and The Death of Artemio Cruz, both indictments of the Mexican Revolution. Other popular novels include Terra Nostra and The Old Gringo.Jorge Ibargüengoitia's black comedy thrillers The Dead Girls and Two Crimes offer a view into the Mexican psyche.The Labyrinth of Solitude, by Octavio Paz, a celebrated poet and essayist, is a probing examination of Mexico's myths and the Mexican character.Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate created a huge interest in things Mexican when it was published in 1989. Set in rural Mexico at the time of the revolution, the novel manages to combine fantasy with recipes.Cormac McCarthy's marvelous All the Pretty Horses is a poetic tale of three young latter-day cowboys riding south of the border.Year of the Jaguar, by James Maw, catches the feel of Mexican travel superbly. The book's young protagonist goes in search of the father he has never met, journeying from the US border to Chiapas.European novelists have long been attracted by Mexico: interesting works include Malcolm Lowry's dipso classic Under the Volcano; Graham Greene's 1930s travelogue Lawless Roads and his great novel The Power and the Glory; Aldous Huxley's Beyond the Mexique Bay; and DH Lawrence's burdensome The Plumed Serpent, which is intent on asking all the big questions about Mexican life.





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