Mexico′s Once and Future Revolution

Social Upheaval and the Challenge of Rule since the Late Nineteenth Century

Mexico′s Once and Future Revolution

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 20 photographs, 1 table, 2 maps Published: September 2013

History > Latin American History, Latin American Studies > Mexico

In this concise historical analysis of the Mexican Revolution, Gilbert M. Joseph and Jürgen Buchenau explore the revolution's causes, dynamics, consequences, and legacies. They do so from varied perspectives, including those of campesinos and workers; politicians, artists, intellectuals, and students; women and men; the well-heeled, the dispossessed, and the multitude in the middle. In the process, they engage major questions about the revolution. How did the revolutionary process and its aftermath modernize the nation's economy and political system and transform the lives of ordinary Mexicans? Rather than conceiving the revolution as either the culminating popular struggle of Mexico's history or the triumph of a new (not so revolutionary) state over the people, Joseph and Buchenau examine the textured process through which state and society shaped each other. The result is a lively history of Mexico's "long twentieth century," from Porfirio Díaz's modernizing dictatorship to the neoliberalism of the present day.


“Essential.”  — J. M. Rosenthal, Choice

"It is as synthesis that the text really succeeds, as a concise effort to bring a generation of scholarship on the Mexican Revolution into focus in a narrative that will satisfy the general reader and lower-division undergraduate students. Both constituencies will find this text a clearly written, up-to-date analysis of the processes that shaped the country's twentieth century. Mexico's Once and Future Revolution has no rival in the English language." — Alexander Dawson, Hispanic American Historical Review

"Mexico's Once and Future Revolution is compact, informative and accessible."  — Andrew Grant Wood, The Americas

“Gilbert Joseph and Jürgen Buchenau have provided an eloquent and highly readable obituary for this long and complex period in Mexican history, but one that reveals above all how the revolution has been kept on life support only by academics themselves. . . . As Joseph and Buchenau’s brilliant and concise overview repeatedly demonstrates, the meaning of the revolution and how it was interpreted changed consistently throughout the 20th century – and arguably still is, if only among historians who continue struggling to interpret this momentous process.”  — Gavin O’Toole, Latin American Review of Books

“This book will likely be a regular staple in upper division undergraduate and graduate classes on Modern Mexico for some time to come. Furthermore, the bibliographical essay that follows the book is superb and, for aspiring and veteran students of the Mexican Revolution alike, worthy of the price of the book alone.” — Andrae Marak, Canadian Journal of History

Mexico’s Once and Future Revolution provides an excellent foundation upon which teachers can organize a course that addresses modem Mexico’s seminal event. While the authors appear to target a college audience, high school students in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs will find it accessible and instructive. Since its authors address social and cultural as well as political topics, it will support a wide range of courses and assignments. Its scope, clear narrative, and balance will serve the needs of students well.” — Daniel Lewis, The History Teacher

“The book is designed for undergraduate students of Mexican history. As such, Joseph and Buchenau offer the reader a journey through Mexico’s twentieth century, stopping at all the major points of interest—the Revolution, the Cardenista reforms, the 1968 student revolt, and the 1994 Zapatista uprising—and slowing down occasionally to drop apposite potted biographies and well-chosen, often entertaining, primary-source quotations. . . . Overall, the book is highly recommended for undergraduates, graduates and academics interested in the Mexican Revolution.” — Benjamin Smith, International Affairs

Mexico’s Once and Future Revolution is a readable, well-organized overview of the 1910 revolution, from its foundations to the presidential election of 2012 and the meaning of the revolution in the present. … [U]pper-division undergraduate classes on the Mexican Revolution will find the book accessible, graduate students will find it a fitting beginning point for their first-year reading on the topic, and established scholars will find it an organized review that they will want to keep on hand as a quick reference.” — Jason Dormady, History: Reviews of New Books

“[T]his book would be an excellent choice for graduate courses. … Mexico’s Once and Future Revolution concludes with an excellent bibliography, although the arguments of its cited studies are often ignored. This is a very stimulating history of modern Mexico that is authoritative in most respects.” — Douglas W. Richmond, The Historian

“The book is an impressive act of synthesis, and an accessible blend of narrative and analysis. It will become a mainstay of introductory courses on Mexican history, and will also attract a general readership eager to learn about Mexico’s complicated revolutionary upheaval, the different ways historians have tried to understand it, and its long-lasting reverberations.” — Thomas Rath, Journal of Latin American Studies

“In Mexico’s Once and Future Revolution, two of our most eminent interpreters of Mexico’s past have given voice to these diverse actors and produced an elegantly crafted synthesis of the republic’s modern period as it emerged before, during and after the revolutionary years of 1910–20. … Researchers and instructors alike will greatly benefit from the insightful and concise quality of Mexico’s Once and Future Revolution, a study that no doubt will become a critical touchstone for all students of Mexican history.”  — Mark Overmyer-Velázquez, Social History

"In a field comprised of theoretically rich and focused monographs, Mexico 's Once and Future Revolution stands out as a thoroughly researched, concise, and approachable survey of Mexico's most important modem developments. Specialists and non-specialists of the Mexican Revolution alike will benefit from reading this book, and it works particularly well as a text for college courses on modern Mexican History." — Brandon Morgan, Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

"This book, written by two accomplished historians of modern Mexico, is a useful and engaging synthesis of the country’s modern political history. It is, in my experience, an effective book for undergraduate courses, presenting a useful periodization, good coverage of the most important topics, events, and actors, and an enticing bridge to further reading. Yet it is also more than a textbook.... This book, in other words, can work very well as a platform for courses on Mexican history in which students actively engage history, memory, and the present." — Pablo Piccato, EIAL

"Mexico's Once and Future Revolution is a gracefully written, comprehensive synthesis for the classroom and general reader."
  — Mary Kay Vaughan, Latin American Research Review

"When and to what degree did the epic Revolution go astray? Although the authors, two of the most eminent scholars of revolutionary Mexico, are not shy in expressing their own opinions, this dossier allows readers from undergraduates to expert initiates to judge for themselves. Gilbert M. Joseph and Jürgen Buchenau have given us a crisply written, comparatively informed survey of Mexican political history embracing nearly 150 years of both change and continuity, from Porfirian modernization to the first successful challenge to ruling party hegemony in 2000. If one were to read a single sweeping treatment of modern Mexico, this book might well be at the top of the list." — Eric Van Young, University of California, San Diego

"This comprehensive, highly readable history of the Mexican Revolution from its nineteenth century origins to the end of its institutionalization in 2000 folds acute analysis and the cogent scholarship of several generations of scholars into a fast-clipped narrative that sacrifices neither entertaining humor nor complexity. The first narrative of one of the twentieth century's most interesting and important political experiments is delightfully accessible to students and the general public alike." — Mary Kay Vaughan, coeditor of Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Gilbert M. Joseph is the Farnam Professor of History and International Studies at Yale University. His many books include A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America's Long Cold War (with Greg Grandin), The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics (with Timothy J. Henderson), Fragments of a Golden Age: The Politics of Culture in Mexico since 1940 (with Anne Rubenstein and Eric Zolov), and Revolution from Without: Yucatán, Mexico, and the United States, 1880–1924, all also published by Duke University Press.

Jürgen Buchenau is Professor of History and Latin American Studies at UNC Charlotte. He is the author of numerous books, including The Last Caudillo: Alvaro Obregón and the Mexican Revolution, Mexican Mosaic: A Brief History of Mexico, and Plutarco Elías Calles and the Mexican Revolution.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

1. Introduction: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico 1

2. Porfirian Modernization and Its Costs 15

3. The Revolution Comes (and Goes), 1910–1913 37

4. The Violent Climax of the Revolution, 1913–1920 55

5. Forging and Contesting a New Nation, 1920–1932 87

6. Resurrecting and Incorporating the Revolution, 1932–1940 117

7. The "Perfect Dictatorship," 1940–1968 141

8. The Embers of Revolution, 1968–2000 167

9. Conclusions: A Revolution with Legs 197

Notes 217

Bibliographical Essay 227

Index 239
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5532-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5517-5
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